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What Drug Causes the Most Deaths?

Mark Halsey
Chief Editor of - Cleanbreak Recovery

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands...Read more

Drug overdose has become a major cause of death in the United States, with the opioid crisis causing thousands of fatalities every year. In this article, we’ll look at the drug that causes the most deaths in the US and explore the reasons behind its devastating impact. We’ll also discuss what can be done to reduce the number of preventable deaths from this drug. So, buckle up and let’s dive into the facts and figures behind what drug causes the most deaths.

What Drug Causes the Most Deaths?

Drugs that Cause the Most Deaths in the US

The use of drugs is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2018. This number is more than the total number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents and firearms combined. While many drugs can be deadly, some are more dangerous than others.

Opioid drugs are among the most dangerous and are responsible for the majority of drug-related deaths. Opioids, which include drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, are a type of pain reliever that can be highly addictive. The overuse of opioids has led to an epidemic of overdose deaths in the US. In 2018, more than 46,000 people died from overdoses involving opioids.

Prescription Opioids

Prescription opioids are among the most dangerous and are responsible for the majority of opioid-related deaths. These drugs are typically prescribed by doctors to treat pain, but their overuse can lead to addiction and overdose. According to the CDC, more than 30,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids in 2018.

Illegal Opioids

Illegal opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl, are also highly dangerous and can lead to overdose deaths. Fentanyl, in particular, is a powerful synthetic opioid that can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin. It is often mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and can be extremely dangerous. In 2018, more than 28,000 people died from overdoses involving fentanyl.

Stimulants

Stimulants are another class of drugs that can be deadly. Stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines, are drugs that can increase alertness, attention, and energy. While these drugs can be beneficial when used as prescribed, they can also be highly addictive and can lead to overdose deaths. In 2018, more than 13,000 people died from overdoses involving stimulants.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can be extremely addictive and can lead to overdose deaths. In 2018, more than 11,000 people died from overdoses involving cocaine.

Amphetamines

Amphetamines, such as methamphetamine and MDMA (ecstasy), are also powerful stimulants that can be highly addictive and can lead to overdose deaths. In 2018, more than 2,000 people died from overdoses involving amphetamines.

Depressants

Depressants, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates, are drugs that can slow down the central nervous system. Depressants can be beneficial when used as prescribed, but their overuse can lead to addiction and overdose deaths. In 2018, more than 21,000 people died from overdoses involving depressants.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant that can be highly addictive and can lead to overdose deaths. In 2018, more than 10,000 people died from overdoses involving alcohol.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium, are prescription drugs that can be used to treat anxiety and insomnia. However, their overuse can lead to addiction and overdose deaths. In 2018, more than 11,000 people died from overdoses involving benzodiazepines.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Drug Causes the Most Deaths?

Answer: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids (prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin) are responsible for the most drug overdose deaths in the United States. In 2017, opioids were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths, or 67.8% of all drug overdose deaths, which was five times higher than in 1999.

What are Opioids?

Answer: Opioids are a type of drug that is used to relieve pain. These drugs work by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain and can be either legally prescribed by a doctor (like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine), or illegally obtained from drug dealers (like heroin). Opioids can be highly addictive and can lead to overdose and death if used incorrectly.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Opioid Use?

Answer: The most life-threatening risk associated with opioid use is overdose. When taken in high doses, opioids can cause breathing to slow down and even stop, leading to death. Other risks associated with opioid use include addiction, liver damage, and impaired judgment.

What is the Treatment for Opioid Addiction?

Answer: Treatment for opioid addiction typically begins with a detoxification period, where the individual is slowly weaned off the drug. This is often followed by therapy, counseling, and support groups to help the individual address any underlying issues that may have contributed to their opioid use. In some cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be prescribed to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

How Can Opioid Overdoses Be Prevented?

Answer: Overdoses can be prevented by following the doctor’s instructions when taking opioids, only taking opioids as prescribed, disposing of opioids properly, and avoiding taking opioids with other substances like alcohol or sedatives. Additionally, individuals should be aware of the signs and symptoms of an overdose and know how to administer the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone if needed.

What Steps Are Being Taken to Reduce Opioid-Related Deaths?

Answer: Organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are working to reduce opioid-related deaths by promoting safe prescribing practices, increasing access to naloxone, improving access to medication-assisted treatment, and providing resources to individuals with opioid use disorder. Additionally, states are implementing laws and regulations to reduce access to opioids and help prevent overdose deaths.

What Is The Most Dangerous Drug In The World? ft. In A Nutshell (Kurzgesagt)

Drug overdoses have become a major public health concern in recent years, with opioids like heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers leading the way in terms of drug-related deaths. While more research is needed to determine the exact cause of these deaths, it is clear that drug abuse and misuse are major contributors. By educating ourselves about the dangers of drug abuse and misuse and making changes to our personal and public policies, we can help reduce the number of drug-related deaths and protect our communities.

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands the complex needs of those struggling with addiction and utilizes a comprehensive and holistic approach to address them. He is well-versed in traditional and innovative therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness-based interventions.

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