In 2017, drug overdoses killed 72,000 Americans, a 10 percent increase over 2016 and yet another record, according to the latest provisional federal estimates.
That single year toll would be more than double the American deaths attributed to the Korean War, and almost 1.25 times those caused by the Vietnam War. The New York Times reported that 2017’s overdose deaths were “higher than the peak yearly death totals from HIV, car crashes or gun deaths.”
The newspaper said experts, analyzing the numbers, blamed them on a few reasons (see NYT chart above): “A growing number of Americans are using opioids, and drugs are becoming more deadly. It is the second factor that most likely explains the bulk of the increased number of overdoses last year.”