Opioid Epidemic: Time to Respond

A new report by the Police Executive Research Forum states that there were 64,070 drug overdose deaths in 2016. When compared to other deaths in the United States, drug overdoses eclipse other peak years by almost 10,000 deaths.

  • 64,070 Drug Overdoses, 2016
  • 54,589 Car Accidents, 1972
  • 50,628 HIV/AIDS, 1995
  • 44,193 Suicides, 2015
  • 24,703 Homicides, 1991
  • 16,899 Vietnam War, 1968

“The United States’ opioids crisis is continuing to worsen, killing tens of thousands of people. The latest numbers from CDC reveal that drug overdose deaths in 2016 totaled 64,070, a 21-percent increase over 2015. While some of those deaths involve cocaine or other drugs, approximately three-fourths of the fatalities were caused by heroin, fentanyl, prescription opioid pills, or other opioid drugs. […] To a large extent, the opioids crisis began several years ago in the eastern half of the United States. More recently, it has been spreading to all parts of the nation. This crisis is the most significant issue facing many police chiefs and sheriffs today. Some agencies already have spent years gearing up their response to the crisis, working with public health agencies, hospitals, drug treatment providers, and others to develop comprehensive strategies for saving lives and helping addicted persons get into treatment. The cities, towns, and counties that are just beginning to experience the full force of the opioids epidemic can learn from these agencies that have greater experience with it.”

Access the report, titled “Unprecedented Opioid Epidemic: As Overdoses Become a Leading Cause of Death, Police, Sheriffs, and Health Agencies Must Step Up Their Response”, via the HSDL, or without access at this link.