2017-06-07 20:03:21

Worst Epidemic in U.S. History? Opioid Crisis Now Leading Cause of Death for Americans Under 50

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. To put the death toll into perspective, opioid deaths have now surpassed the peak in death by car crash in 1972, AIDS deaths in 1995 and gun deaths in 1993. After 20 years of heavy combat in South Vietnam, U.S. military casualties represented only one-third of the death toll from 10 years of opioid overdoses. Meanwhile, counties and states around the country have filed lawsuits to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the public health crisis. "The United States is in the midst of the worst drug addiction epidemic in its history," says Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is also co-founder and director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

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