The number of Americans who have died from drug overdoses in 2016 is estimated to be as high as 65,000. In 2000, that same number was under 20,000.
This data comes from an analysis published by the New York Times today. In it, the Times argues that American drug deaths are rising faster than ever.
The exact number of drug deaths won’t be released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention until sometime in December, but the Times estimate puts it at 62,500 for 2016. That’s a 19 percent increase over the 52,404 of 2015.
“Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50,” the article reads in part, “and all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017.”
The estimate is based on data from hundreds of health departments, coroners, and medical examiners. Even by the most conservative verison of the Times analysis, this estimate is still above the 1972 peak of deaths from car crashes.