The United States has been gripped by a heroin and opiate epidemic with user numbers recently hitting a 20 year high. In 2014, the number of U.S. heroin users passed the million mark with deaths from overdoses rising steeply. Drugs are now killing substantially more Americans every year than car crashes. In 2004, 30,711 deaths were drug related compared to 42,836 in motor vehicle accidents.
A decade later, drug-induced deaths reached 49,714 while road crash deaths fell to 32,675. As well as the cheap suppy of heroin, legistlation aimed at eliminating prescription opioid abuse has actually added to the problem. It involved changing the texture of the pills to make them more difficult to crush and inject into the bloodstream. That move made people shift over to heroin in droves. New and deadlier drugs such as Fentanyl are also adding to the overdose epidemic. 50 times more potent than heroin, Fentanyl has created an overdose spike in several north-eastern states and has been named as the drug that killed pop singer Prince earlier this year.
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