In a recent article by Gina Kolata and Sarah Cohen published in The New York Times, statistics regarding drug related deaths are examined. After examining 60 million death certificates from the Center for Disease Control in the years between 1990-2014, the data collected indicates that the mortality rate due to drug overdoses is on the rise in the young white, Non-Hispanic population.

The article calls the numbers “stark”, as the amount of overdose deaths has tripled in some categories. The research further explains how these of overdose rates are actually “erasing the benefits from advances in medical treatment.” While doctors and researchers are making great strides in finding treatment for disease like heart disease and cancer, the mortality rate is not reflecting the progress because of the increase in drug overdose deaths and suicides.

On the contrary, the mortality rate of the young African American population has been steadily falling—mostly due to the decrease in AIDS related deaths. As a result of the increased mortality rates for the young white population along with the decrease in deaths among young black citizens, the gap in the deaths rates between the two sub groups has decreased by two thirds.

The death statistics are eye opening. The number of fatalities among the young white population has increased significantly across all age age groups.

The researchers cannot pinpoint what is leading the the increase in these numbers, but some attest it to heroin as a substitute for prescriptions pain pills while others claim that there is a socioeconomic link to the numbers.

Read the full article: The New York Times “Drug Overdoses Propel Rise in Mortality Rates of Young Whites”