One hundred fifty thousand people died in the U.S. in 2017 thanks to drugs, alcohol, and suicide. That is more than double the number it was not too long ago in 1999. A lot of things have changed in the last 20 or so years, the addition of social media being one of the largest ones.

Even just in one year from 2016 to 2017 deaths from drugs, alcohol, and suicide had a marked increase. This was of about 6 percent. Believe it or not, that is less than the two years previous, 2015 and 2016. The average for the United States is 4 percent. Being above that is scary to think about, yet we are seeing it happen every year lately.

Seeing the rate go lower seems like a positive thing, but it’s not enough. There needs to be more change, and this change needs to happen markedly faster. These deaths are preventable; they aren’t causing that can’t be fought. So people need to start fighting for them.

The United States has an all-time high of deaths due to substance abuse. This is unacceptable in a nation that is supposed to be so developed.

Mainly drug deaths are what are pushing these numbers up so quickly. If the rates of death by drug use could be lowered instead of inflated, then it might make a difference overall.

Death due to synthetic opioids raised a whopping 45 percent between 2016 to 2017. What’s ridiculous is how it has increased by ten times just in the last five years. There have to be better ways to handle this, but we don’t see anyone finding them out.

The only states whose rates actually lowered for the year were Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming.

The CDC compiled this data for their national reports on the matters. A number of recommendations were made to help change these numbers. Let’s go over some of these changes:

–    Try to increase funding and support to programs which reduce risk factors and promote spirit in children, families, and communities.

–    Know that experience trauma at young ages increases the potential for substance misuse and suicide in the future.

–    Introduce programs to help lower community violence, address poverty and discrimination, create safe, supportive schools and quality learning experiences and promote access to secure housing and employment opportunities. Any and all of these help build overall strength.

–    Provide more resources to programs which seek to promote harm reduction and access to treatment for individuals who have substance use disorders including access to mental health services covered by insurance similar to coverage for physical health care.

–    Increase accessibility for programs for communities and population groups at the highest risk for substance misuse and suicide as these are super important.

–    Support more policies that want to limit access to the lethal means of suicide. This includes promoting safe storage of medications and firearms and encouraging responsible opioid prescribing practices.

These suggested changes are meant to help save lives that are being lost in completely preventable ways.