CBS News - More than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year — the most ever.
Heroin deaths rose 23 percent in one year, to 12,989, slightly higher than the number of gun homicides, according to government data. Deaths from synthetic opioids, including illicit fentanyl, rose 73 percent to 9,580. And prescription painkillers took the highest toll, but posted the smallest increase. Abuse of drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin killed 17,536, an increase of 4 percent.
Overall, overdose deaths rose 11 percent last year, to 52,404. By comparison, the number of people who died in car crashes was 37,757, an increase of 12 percent. Gun deaths, including homicides and suicides, totaled 36,252, up 7 percent.