Drug And Alcohol Deaths Could Rise 60% In The Next Decade
1.6 million people. That’s the amount of lives that could be lost to drug and alcohol abuse between now and 2025. U.S News and World Report published these startling facts last month, projecting the amount of addiction-related deaths to rise by 60 percent in the next decade.
Suicide was another factor in the equation, raising alarms for anyone facing that particular issue. Researchers also admitted that they didn’t fully factor in the opioid crisis when calculating their figures. Though they did recognize how it has already lowered the American life expectancy.
“The United States is facing a new set of epidemics,” the report read. “More than 1 million Americans have died in the past decade from drug overdoses, alcohol and suicides. Life expectancy in the country decreased last year for the first time in two decades—and these three public health crises have been major contributing factors to this shift.”
Put into hard stats, the report identified 127,500 deaths attributed to drugs, alcohol and suicide in 2015. Taking into account addiction rates, emergency room visits and overdose totals, it projected that number to reach 192,000 by 2025. The saddest part of all is that the 2015 numbers are significantly higher than the decade prior; having tripled between 2000 and that time.
Suicides were concerning too but, as illustrated in the U.S. News chart below, they still pale in comparison to the amount of projected drug deaths.
Then there’s the economic impact these issues will have on the country by the mid-2020’s. Currently, the report revealed that $249 billion a year is spent on health care costs relating to alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide attempts. In total, that amounts to about 9.5 percent of all U.S. health expenditures.
Researcher John Auerbach spoke out about the results, discussing some of the “big picture problems” (which we happen to agree with). Yes things like the opioid epidemic are crippling our nation, but as we teach in recovery, these type of addictions need to be attacked at their core.
“These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable,” Auerbach told U.S News. “There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol.”
And, of course, we are extremely sympathetic to the suicide issues. These types of behaviors are closely associated with addiction and should definitely be put center stage as well. The big final takeaway of the report focused on building a “National Resilience Strategy,” meant to tackle all of these issues and reduce deaths by expanding prevention and treatment initiatives.