ATLANTA, GA – The new year will bring with it an "auld" acquaintance that can’t be “forgot”.
And that’s an epidemic in America, but it’s not an epidemic from diseases.
No, the government says it’s from alcohol and drugs, legal and illegal.
Year-end numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the rate of drug overdoses in the United States increased 137 percent between the years 2000 and 2014, with 47,055 drug overdose deaths in 2014.
That was a 6.5 percent increase over 2013.
Heroin and cocaine continue to be big killers in this country. The CDC says those drugs and other illegal opiates killed more than 17,465 Americans in 2014.
But more people died from drugs given to them by their doctors than from their dealers.
Prescription painkillers and tranquilizers, such as Valium, killed nearly 25,760 people in 2014.
Booze continues to be the big killer.
The CDC says 2014 had nearly 30,700 deaths related to alcohol, including alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, but not including drunk-driving and murder.
And that represents a 37-percent increase since 2002.
But here’s a number that might surprise you, or it might not. The CDC says the number of deaths from marijuana overdose did not change.
It’s still zero, zilch, nada.
And that’s good news for people who want legal weed to smoke and for those who want the stuff for medicinal use.
Yeah, but even though no one has died yet from smoking too much weed, let’s be blunt: it has other problems rolled into it, like driving while stoned.
And that could turn into a really bad trip, man.