WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2018 —
The nation is facing an unprecedented threat from opioids, with tens of thousands of people dying each year in the United States in overdoses involving the substance, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said yesterday in Miami at U.S. Southern Command.
“It’s a tremendous threat to us; it’s something we’ve never seen before,” Sessions said in opening remarks at the one-day meeting at Southcom headquarters.
Sessions said 52,000 people in the United States died of overdoses in 2015. The number of overdoses in the United States rose to 64,000 in 2016, he said, noting the biggest part of the surge was from opioids.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that opioids — including heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids — killed more than 42,000 people in 2016. The CDC says that is more than any year on record.
“We all have got to think better,” Sessions urged, noting that President Donald J. Trump has declared the issue a national health emergency. The nation’s average life expectancy has declined, Sessions said, adding that the leading cause of death for people under 50 in the United States is drug overdose.