New data shows that there was one troubling thing that killed more people last year than gun homicides: heroin.
The Washington Post reports that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 12,989 heroin deaths in 2015, compared to 12,979 gun deaths. This marks the first time heroin deaths have surpassed gun homicides in the U.S., as gun homicides used to occur with higher frequency than heroin deaths over a five-to-one ratio going as far back as 2007.
Heroin deaths have skyrocketed since 2007, coinciding with a rising epidemic of opioid deaths, which surged by almost 5,000 deaths from 2014 to 2015. The total amount of opioid deaths reached 33,092 in 2015–not far off from the 33,736 total gun deaths that occurred in 2015.
The rise in opioid deaths can be traced to the constant use and dependency on prescription painkillers, and then more people turned to heroin once there were tighter regulations on painkillers, according to the Post. There's also the fact that synthetic opioids like fentanyls have become increasingly available, which are far more lethal, as "fentanyl-related deaths spiked by 75 percent between 2014 and 2015," according to The Blaze.
Earlier this week, Congress passed a $1 billion bill to tackle the opiod issue.
And yet, the left has not been pursuing the opioid and heroin epidemic with the same vitriol and vigor that they expend on disarming law abiding citizens, despite the fact heroin deaths surpassed gun homicides in 2015 and that there are almost as many opioid deaths as gun deaths. The opioid and heroin epidemic is much more worthy of expending political capital.