(Natural News) It’s not a statistic that will please the nation’s anti-Second Amendment, gun-grabbing politicians, but sometimes facts can be inconvenient things when you’re pushing an agenda.
As reported by Zero Hedge, “Guns don’t kill people, heroin does.” For the first time ever, researchers have found that the illicit street drug has become more deadly than firearms, accounting for more deaths than gun homicides in 2015.
Russian Times, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted further that the death rate from the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic continues to grow, as nearly 5,000 more Americans died from overdoses in 2015 than in 2014.
The use of heroin (which is cheaper than prescription and street-obtained opioids from Big Pharma) has exploded across the U.S. following decades of doctors over-prescribing them as painkillers throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s.
Death rates have quadrupled since 1999
A report released by the CDC recently revealed that the problem with this class of drugs has become so bad that opioid-related deaths are now a bigger problem than gun fatalities – the first time that this has happened.
Until around 2007, the Washington Post reported – also citing the CDC report – deaths as a result of a firearm outnumbered opioid deaths by about five-to-one. But by 2015, the CDC said, 12,989 people died from heroin and opioid ODs versus 12,979 from gun homicides. (Note: Suicide-related gun deaths account for about double that of gun homicides annually – 21,334 in 2015 – the CDC says.)
Passed in recent days, the 21st Century Cures Act (a piece of legislation which was opposed by Natural News because it appears to be a big-government giveaway to Big Pharma) will allocate, among other things, $1 billion to combat the opioid epidemic via addiction treatment and preventative measures. Citing CDC data, Russian Times noted that funding cannot arrive too soon, given the rate of increase in opioid-related deaths from heroin and prescription opioids, including synthetic forms like fentanyl; death rates have nearly quadrupled since 1999.
The site additionally reported:
While there are myriad reasons for the increase in deaths, some blame can be assigned to the recent introduction of fentanyl and other strong synthetic opioids to the marketplace. Deaths from these synthetic opioids grew 75 percent from 2014 to 2015.
‘It’s going to be horrendous in 2016’
The increase in deaths is pervasive throughout the country, but there are pockets where opioid ODs are profoundly higher. For example, in Ocean County, New Jersey, rates of fentanyl deaths have really shot up. In 2013, just four people died from a fentanyl overdose, but by 2014, that number had increased to 19. In 2015, the figure was 51, according to the New Jersey Office of the State Medical Examiner, the Daily Record said.
Some believe that the newly passed 21st Century Cures Act will give people struggling with addiction the kind of assistance they need to beat it. However, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato thinks that the addiction – and death rates – will get worse before they improve.
“As bad as it was in 2015, it’s going to be horrendous in 2016,” he said, predicting that “the numbers are just going to continue to spiral out of control.”
The paper further noted that since 2014, the steep rise in overdose deaths has come largely from fentanyl-laced heroin. At that time, China-produced fentanyl began making its way into the United States via the mail and from Mexico, the Drug Enforcement Administration has said.
One kilogram of fentanyl can be bought for as little as $2,700, but theoretically can bring in as much as $20 million, or 1 million 1mg doses at about $20 each. In theory, the same kilogram could also kill half a million people, the paper said. And the most recent version are counterfeit opioid pills that contain nothing but fentanyl or a fentanyl analog; they could kill many more.