People often ask us: “What’s the most dangerous drug these days?” Looking at the headlines, you might expect the answer to be an opiate like heroin, or a synthetic opiate like oxycontin, fentanyl or vicodin. But you would be wrong.
There’s no question that deaths attributed to opiates and synthetic opiates have skyrocketed in the last few years. Fatal overdoses have become heartbreakingly common, and no community or demographic group has been spared. There would be even more fatalities if emergency responders didn’t carry Naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug, that can nullify the effects of opiates and help revive people who have technically died or nearly died.
According to the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), fatalities linked to opiates, synthetic opiates, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine and other drugs (not including alcohol and tobacco) reached a level of 66,000 deaths per year in 2016 in the United States.
It’s no wonder people are alarmed, and it’s no wonder the opiate crisis has been called an epidemic. Approximately 180 people die every day, despite our current efforts to save lives.
The 66,000 fatalities were: heroin: 15,000; synthetic opiates: 20,000; methadone: other opiates: 14,000; cocaine: 11,000; methamphetamine: 8,000, with the remainder spread through other drugs.
But here’s the shocker: the most dangerous drug in America isn’t in this list. In the same period of study, culminating in 2016, 88,000 people died as a result of alcohol use. More people died as a result of drinking than all other drugs combined.
It’s easy to overlook alcohol as a dangerous drug because it’s woven into the very fabric of our society. But it’s not just dangerous, it’s the most dangerous drug by a wide margin. On a personal note, we have seen many alcohol-related deaths that were attributed to other causes (like heart disease), which were clearly caused by or worsened by drinking.
The good news is that effective intervention and treatment is available. Concerned family members and friends have more power than they think when they get the right guidance. If someone you know is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, don’t wait for them to hit bottom. Reach out for help today. There are many free resources available, including our website, below.
Recently, we heard an insightful answer to the question: “What is the most dangerous drug?”
The one you’re on!
Statistics don’t matter when it comes to someone we love. They need help now, and you may be the one to save their life.