Heroin deaths surpass gun homicides for the first time in the U.S.

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Heroin and opioids related deaths in the United States continue to rise at alarming rates. “Opioid deaths continued to surge in 2015, surpassing 30,000 for the first time in recent history,” reported The Washington Post.

“The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a statement. “Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems.”

“During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States” and “61% (28,647, data not shown) of drug overdose deaths involved some type of opioid, including heroin,” reported the CDC. In 2015, 12,989 people died from heroin and 12,979 died from gun homicides.

“The prescription opioid and heroin epidemic continues to devastate communities and families across the country—in large part because too many people still do not get effective substance use disorder treatment,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, in a statement. “That is why the President has called since February for $1 billion in new funding to expand access to treatment.”

That $1 billion funding that Botticelli mentioned in his statement is called The 21st Century Cures Act, and accoring to RT “will allocate $1 billion to fight the opioid epidemic through addiction treatment and prevention.”

“States will receive grants worth $1 billion over the next two years for drug abuse prevention and treatment programs,” reported CBS News

With the decriminalization of marijuana in several states and the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in other states there has been much debate on whether or not other hard core drugs should be decriminalized as well, not because the drugs should be accepted as “normal” but for the reason of better understanding the effetcs of the drug, to help those who are addicted and to help lower the amounts of overdose and deaths caused by the illegal drugs.

“Criminalization drives people to the margins and dissuades them from getting help,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “It drives a wedge between people who need help and the services they need. Because of criminalization and stigma, people hide their addictions from others.”

(H/T – The Blaze)

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