According to the most recent data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fatal heroin overdoses in the U.S. grew from 2,089 in 2002 to 13,219 in 2016. That represents a shocking 533 percent increase. During the same period of time, the number of American heroin users climbed from 404,000 to 948,000.
The data shows just how severe the U.S. opioid crisis has become. In 2008, drug-induced deaths claimed more lives than car crashes for the first time and the gap has continued to widen since then. They have also reached another grim and poignant landmark. Drug overdose deaths are expected to surpass 71,000 this year, a significantly higher death toll than the Vietnam War which claimed just over 58,000 lives.