Opioid Epidemic a Public Health Crisis: Mark Zuckerberg at University of Kansas

The Story:

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and CEO, said that the extent of the opioid crisis in America was the one thing that surprised him the most during his recent Year of Travel challenge across several states.

Important Because:

The problem of opioid abuse or, indeed, drug abuse, cannot be overstated.

64,000 drug overdose-related deaths were recorded in 2016 in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That’s a staggering 22% higher than 2015, when 52,404 drug-related deaths were reported.

A high-profile individual like Zuckerberg talking about it helps bring more awareness, if not credibility, to nationwide efforts.

This Happened:

Zuckerberg made some comments on the opioid problem in the United States, and other drug-related deaths, in a Facebook Live broadcast from the University of Kansas:

“The biggest surprise by far is the extent of opioid issues, it’s really saddening to see.”

In reference to the CDC’s data, he said:

“That’s more people than died from Aids at the peak of the Aids epidemic. That’s more Americans that died in the whole of the Vietnam War. It’s more people than die of car accidents and gun violence I think combined, and it’s growing quickly.”

Zuckerberg also made a valid point about the dearth of effort around opioid abuse awareness:

” is getting attention, but nowhere near what it needs. It’s a public health crisis.”


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