Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50

Have you read the latest from the New York Times? The newspaper compiled preliminary data that show the number of drug overdose deaths in 2016 increased by the largest amount ever recorded in the United States.

The Times wrote:

The death count is the latest consequence of an escalating public health crisis: opioid addiction, now made more deadly by an influx of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and similar drugs. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

Although the data is preliminary, the Times’s best estimate is that deaths rose 19 percent over the 52,404 recorded in 2015. And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017.

Heroin deaths have now surpassed gun homicides, CBS reported. Thomas Gilson, a medical examiner in Ohio, told CBS:

If you look at how many people die in the country from opiate overdose, we’re looking at the same number of casualties as the entire Vietnam conflict.