Nationally, the increase was statistically slight − just 0.5% − compared with last year, suggesting a slowing in the rate of growth in the country's overdose crisis.
Still, that means for the second year in a row, more than 100,000 people − roughly the size of population of Dearborn − died from drug overdoses. In Michigan, 2,993 people died of drug overdoses, according to the estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And experts warned those numbers are unacceptable.
"This can not be our new normal that over 100,000 people a year are dying ever single year of overdose," said Dr. Allison Lin, a University of Michigan psychiatry professor and researcher who studies addiction. "That is not something we can tolerate as a society. This is just a tremendous number of people who are dying every year. We haven’t turned it around ."
Fentanyl, the potent synthetic opioid, is still driving the majority of the overdose deaths. But other drugs are posing threats, including xylazine, an animal tranquilizer that is not an opioid and does not respond to naloxone (brand name: Narcan), which can reverse an opioid overdose is giving in time and given correctly.