About 1.6 million Americans could die from drugs, alcohol and suicide in the next decade, according to a comprehensive new report out Tuesday.
The figure is a 60 percent increase over the past decade, according to the report, which was released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust. The authors of the study say the projections could be conservative as the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on American communities. The report includes an online interactive tool that maps the trends.
In 2015, there were 127,500 deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide, a number that could reach 192,000 by 2025, according to the analysis, which was conducted by the Berkeley Research Group.
Drug overdose deaths tripled between 2000 and 2015, with opioid-related deaths in rural communities ballooning seven-fold. Preliminary data indicates drug overdoses in 2016 could exceed 64,000, with fentanyl-related incidents accounting for 21,000 of those deaths.
Alcohol-related deaths reached a 35-year high in 2015, according to the report, with 33,200 that year. The figure expands to 88,000 when including alcohol-related violence, motor vehicle crashes and other incidents, and the analysis shows 5.9 percent of Americans have an alcohol use disorder.
Suicides also increased in the last decade by nearly 30 percent, and were responsible for more than 44,000 deaths a year. The report shows suicide rates among girl 10 to 14 rose 200 percent.
The report also analyzed the economic impact of drug, alcohol and suicide-related health costs. The costs total $249 billion a year, amounting to about 9.5 percent of total U.S. health expenditures.
“These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable,” said John Auerbach, president of Trust for America’s Health. “There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol.”
The report advocates for the creation of a “National Resilience Strategy” to reduce suicide, drug use and alcohol abuse through prevention and treatment expansion.
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