Frontline writes, “The opioid epidemic has been called the worst drug crisis in American history. Death rates now rival those of AIDS during the 1990s, and with overdoses from heroin and other opioids now killing more than 27,000 people a year, the crisis has led to urgent calls for action.”

The epidemic didn’t happen overnight. Over the course of more than a decade, it has grown into a problem destroying lives across the nation, regardless of age, race, wealth or location. Here’s a look at how it happened and who is most affected.

Drugs now kill more Americans than cars

In 1999, there were more than twice as many motor vehicle deaths as fatal drug overdoses. By 2014, those numbers had flipped, with almost 40 percent more deaths from overdoses than car crashes. In all, 29,230 people died in car accidents in 2014, while 47,055 died from a drug overdose.”

Among the main points made:

  • “Cocaine used to be the leading killer. Not anymore.”
  • “Opioid prescriptions tripled over 20 years”
  • “The epidemic has hit nearly everyone, regardless of race”
  • “Heroin deaths skew younger. Opioid deaths come later.”
  • “Twelve states have more opioid prescriptions than people”

Full story available here