People who use drugs are dying in increasing numbers. There are more than 200,000 drug-related deaths a year. Overdose deaths contribute to between a third and a half of all drug-related deaths. Last year, in the United States alone, overdose deaths exceeded 59,000. Overdose is the principal cause of death of North Americans younger than fifty years old. Not cancer; not heart attack or stroke; not vehicular accidents. Overdose. Avoidable overdose.
The vast majority of those who have died in the last several years have overdosed as a result of mistakenly taking fentanyl or carfentanyl instead of heroin and other opiates, with these newer, far stronger drugs increasingly being consumed due to the unregulated drug market under prohibition. Fentanyl is also causing increasing numbers of opiate overdoses and deaths throughout Europe and in other parts of the world. Meanwhile, young people have continued to die the world over as a result of toxic adulterants and contaminants being present in stimulants like MDMA and ecstasy, which are relatively very safe drugs when uncontaminated and when of known strength.
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Thumbnail Flickr CC John Twohig