The U.S. Still Has One of the Most Fatal Drug Problems of Developed Nations

US lighter burning drug

For a little more than twenty years, the United States has struggled with a terrible drug addiction epidemic. The problem has been called a national public health emergency, and rightly so. Since 1999, more than 770,000 Americans have died from drug-related causes. And the problem has grown exponentially. For example, about 16,000 people died from overdoses in 1999, but fast forward to the present, and deaths have been in the 60,000-70,000 range each year for several years now.

The drug problem in the U.S. is terrible enough, but what is surprising is that drug trends are not increasing on a similar level in other, high-income, first-world countries. Why is that? How does the drug problem in the U.S. compare to other nations? And even more importantly, what can be done about the drug crisis here in the States?

A Concerning Trend

It is an odd disparity that in such a powerful, wealthy, and technologically advanced country that drug overdoses would be a leading cause of preventable death. And what’s even more concerning is that this is not a new problem. For more than twenty years now, drug addiction statistics have gradually worsened across the States, even as attempts to reduce deaths and treat addiction have been explored.

“Drug overdose mortality has reached unprecedented levels in the United States. Over the past two decades, drug overdose has more than tripled to become the leading cause of injury deaths in the U.S., outnumbering deaths from motor vehicle accidents and homicides,” writes Jessica Y. Ho, a professor at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Her full analysis is in a research paper published at Wiley Online Library.

The American drug problem is a somewhat unique phenomenon. Yes, other countries do struggle with drug addiction issues of their own, but research suggests that the United States has one of the most lethal drug problems of developed nations.

Comparing Drug Overdose Deaths to Other Nations

Drug overdose rates in the United States are, on average, 3.5 times higher when compared to other, high-income countries. Multiple factors contribute to this. For example, the prescription drug crisis that the U.S. went through in the 2000s and the early to mid-2010s was a contributing factor to the present-day addiction nightmare. Add to that a resurgence of heroin use, a spike in meth abuse, the introduction of pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicit fentanyl, and an increase in cocaine abuse, and the U.S. has experienced a multi-faceted crisis of catastrophic proportions. With the those factors combined, it’s easy to see why the U.S. has suffered a unique addiction epidemic.

“On average, Americans are living 2.6 fewer years than people in other high-income countries. This puts the United States more than a decade behind the life expectancy levels achieved by other high-income countries.”
Drawer with drugs

Again quoting Professor Ho, “On average, Americans are living 2.6 fewer years than people in other high-income countries. This puts the United States more than a decade behind the life expectancy levels achieved by other high-income countries. American drug overdose deaths are widening this already significant gap and causing us to fall even further behind our peer countries.”

If it weren’t for the addiction epidemic, the U.S. would probably not be 2.6 years behind other nations in average life expectancy. Drug addiction in America is a significant contributor to premature deaths, and it’s people dying from overdoses in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s that significantly influences average American life expectancy.

For the U.S. to improve its life expectancy, it will have to reduce drug overdoses. How can that be accomplished? How can families of addicts all across the U.S. get their loved ones help?

Family Members, You Can Prevent Overdose Deaths!

The family of an addict is a family that is continuously fearful for their loved one’s life. And that’s understandable. Addiction is a life or death crisis. Every day that a loved one spends as an addict is another day they might suffer an overdose.

What can families of addicts do to ensure that their loved one does not experience an overdose?

The answer is addiction treatment.

Narconon helps addicted loved ones overcome the toxic and dangerous crisis that is drug addiction. Even though drug addiction is a clutching, life-threatening affliction, it does not have to be permanent. Narconon utilizes a unique and practical, proven rehabilitation technology to get to the problem of addiction at its source.

After you’ve helped your loved one get into rehab at Narconon, their first segment of treatment will be a Drug-Free Withdrawal. Personal withdrawal specialists assist each recovering addict in coming down off of drugs. Nutrition and special techniques are used to help guide recovering addicts through this process.

Narconon Detox

While withdrawing off of drugs is a bold move forward towards recovery, just coming down off of drugs isn’t enough to thoroughly cleanse the body of drug toxins. That is where Narconon’s New Life Detoxification comes into play. The New Life Detox seeks to break down and flush toxic drug residues out of the body, giving the recovering addict a body that is free of drug particles. The process utilizes a combination of exercise, sweating in a dry-heat sauna, nutrition, and hydration.

The Narconon program also includes the Objectives, a series of exercises designed to help bring a recovering addict’s attention off of troubling past experiences and to center them in the present instead. A life mired by addiction is often a life stuck in unpleasant past experiences. Being stably grounded in the present allows an individual to face life anew, unaffected by past experiences. That is one of the goals of the Objectives.

Narconon goes on to help prepare recovering addicts for life outside treatment. Students of the Narconon program work their way through practical coursework and study programs that are designed to instill the life skills an individual needs to succeed in life. These courses are immensely helpful in creating a happy, successful, healthy, and drug-free life.

Don’t let your loved one contribute to the increasingly lethal nature of addiction in America. Narconon can help reverse the dwindling spiral and make real and positive change in addicts’ lives. Contact Narconon today and take the first step towards saving your loved one’s life.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.