(NEW YORK) — Drug overdoses and its accompanying issues are only getting worse, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.
More people in America die each year from a drug overdose compared to homicides or car crashes, National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday. In 2010, there were 38,000 drug overdose-related deaths.
“These numbers are staggering, especially since we know that each and every overdose death is preventable,” he said.
Kerlikowske announced new initiatives in the war against drugs, detailing the 2013 National Control Strategy, which uses scientific research.
Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, he explained, and can be successfully prevented and treated.
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of our drug problem,” Kerlikowske added.
The drug policy reform plan directs federal agencies to expand community-based efforts in order to prevent use before it even begins. The new steps will encourage health workers to intervene at the first signs of substance abuse and extend treatment.
Aug. 31 marks International Overdose Awareness Day.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jamiel Lynch and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Josh Friesen, Idaho State Journal
Karen Lehr, KIVI