Report: Overdoses in 2016 killed more Americans than the Vietnam War

Data shows that 64,070 people died from overdoses in 2016, compared to the 58,200 that died in the Vietnam War

By EMS1 Staff

ATLANTA — The number of Americans killed in 2016 from drug overdoses surpassed the total number of Americans who died during the Vietnam War.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the latest numbers, which showed 64,070 people died from overdoses in 2016, 75 percent of which were caused by opioids, reported CBS News.

The Police Executive Research Forum put that number into perspective by comparing the deaths tothe 58,200 Americans who died during the Vietnam War.

The group said they are focusing on the opioid epidemic because "despite the groundbreaking work that police and other agencies are doing, the epidemic is continuing to worsen."

The report also showed that 2016 drug-related deaths outnumbered::

  • The 35,092 motor vehicle deaths in 2015.
  • AIDS-related deaths in the worst year of the AIDS crisis, when 50,628 people died in 1995.
  • The peak year for homicides in the U.S., when 24,703 people were murdered in 1991.
  • Suicides, which have been rising in the U.S. for nearly 30 years and totaled 44,193 in 2015.

PERF also conducted a survey among police chiefs and found that their responses correlated with research that suggests many people who become addicted to prescription painkillers turn to heroin or synthetic opioids when they can no longer obtain the prescription pills.

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