Drug overdose deaths increased 19 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to a preliminary analysis of data by The New York Times.
Evidence suggests the problem, driven by opioid addiction, has continued to worsen this year. An influx of fentanyl and similar drugs is escalating the death count.
Drug overdoses are currently the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50, the article notes. Large increases in drug overdose deaths were seen last year in Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine. In Ohio, overdose deaths rose by more than 25 percent.
The New York Times came up with its estimate based on drug overdose statistics from state health departments, county medical examiners and coroners’ offices.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will calculate final 2016 overdose totals in December.