Drug Abuse Skyrockets to the Top of Preventable Causes of Death

Dead woman addict on the street.

By now it should not come as a surprise to anyone that our country is struggling with a terrible and vicious substance abuse epidemic, a problem so serious that it has ranked first as a public crisis, then a health epidemic, and now a national public health emergency. One would have to have been living under a rock not to know that our country is in the grips of the worst addiction battle it has ever faced.

As drug abuse has skyrocketed to the top of the charts across all categories, it comes as little surprise then when we learn that drug abuse and alcohol poisonings are now the leading causes of accidental and preventable deaths in the U.S. But the truth is, in just the last several years, drug abuse has risen far up the charts to become the single greatest cause of accidental and preventable death nationally.

New Research Shows a Constant Climb in U.S. Drug Deaths

Drug deaths

The overdose death rate in the United States has exceeded not only what it was in previous years, but it has also exceeded previous extrapolations on worst-case scenarios for overdoses as well. On a per capita basis, the United States has one of the highest if not the highest overdose death rate in the world. A definitive claim is difficult to make on that one, as not all countries record and post overdose death rates.

However, in the United States, our nation saw a little over thirty-thousand overdose deaths in 2014, more than forty-two-thousand overdose deaths in 2015, and a record-breaking sixty-four-thousand overdose deaths in 2016. The numbers for 2017 have not yet been fully tabulated.

Every year, drug overdose deaths on American soil increase. There has not been one year that they have leveled out or decreased in over twenty years. The United States is caught in the grips of an extremely fatal epidemic, one of which our best efforts so far to address have not been nearly as effective as we’d have liked them to be.

Looking for Solutions

So what are we going to do about the drug problem? Where is the solution? It’s time we not only looked for solutions but actually committed ourselves to finding solutions and applying them.

Luckily for us, there are already a plethora of solutions to the drug problem that we simply need to commit ourselves to. Haven’t enough people died from drug overdoses as it is? Isn’t it time for a change? When more people in America are dying from drug overdoses than car accidents, isn’t it time we treated the epidemic with the severity that it does warrant?

One solution we can start applying right away is through prevention. Prevention is any act or action that attempts to stop addicts from turning to drugs and alcohol in the first place. It is the effort to resist drug abuse, to curb it, and to literally prevent people from abusing drugs and alcohol in the first place. Education, raising public awareness, holding marches, walks, and public events, utilizing education in schools, having parents talk with their kids, this all qualifies as prevention.

Another solution that must be applied in tandem with prevention is rehabilitation. The drug problem won’t subsist until all Americans who are addicted are freed from their habits. We actually have to encourage and even insist that those who are hooked on drugs and alcohol get help through a treatment center or rehabilitation facility. In this way, those who are currently dependent on substances can be freed from their crippling habits.

The United States is in an emergency regarding drug use and alcoholism. Getting out of this trap will take some effort. It’s time to start now.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.