Heroin deaths surpass gun homicides


Opioid deaths continued to surge in 2015, surpassing 30,000 for the first time in recent history, according to CDC data released Thursday.

That marks an increase of nearly 5,000 deaths from 2014. Deaths involving powerful synthetic opiates, like fentanyl, rose by nearly 75 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Heroin deaths spiked too, rising by more than 2,000 cases. For the first time since at least the late 1990s, there were more deaths due to heroin than to traditional opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

“The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a statement. “Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems.”

In the CDC’s opioid death data, deaths may involve more than one individual drug category, so numbers in the chart above aren’t mutually exclusive. Many opioid fatalities involve a combination of drugs, often multiple types of opioids, or opioids in conjunction with other sedative substances like alcohol.

In a grim milestone, more people died from heroin-related causes than from gun homicides in 2015. As recently as 2007, gun homicides outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5 to 1.


These increases come amid a year-over-year increase in mortality across the board, resulting in the first decline in American life expectancy since 1993.

Congress recently passed a spending bill containing $1 billion to combat the opioid epidemic, including money for addiction treatment and prevention.

“The prescription opioid and heroin epidemic continues to devastate communities and families across the country—in large part because too many people still do not get effective substance use disorder treatment,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, in a statement. “That is why the President has called since February for $1 billion in new funding to expand access to treatment.”

Much of the current opioid predicament stems from the explosion of prescription painkiller use in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Widespread painkiller use led to many Americans developing dependencies on the drugs. When various authorities at the state and federal levels began issuing tighter restrictions on painkillers in the late 2000s, much of that demand shifted over to the illicit market, feeding the heroin boom of the past several years.

DAWG SAYS:

MAYBE WE SHOULD MAKE HEROIN ILLEGAL OR SUE THE MANUFACTURERS. OOPS IT IS ILLEGAL ISNT IT?

MONTANA WOMAN FORCES SEX UPON EX…….

HID BEHIND DOOR WITH MACHETE

Late Friday night, police in Great Falls, Mont., received a call from a man in distress: He had come home to find his ex-girlfriend hiding behind his bedroom door, wielding a machete.

She had somehow broken into the house while he was away, he said, and when he opened the door and walked into his room she confronted him from behind and held the machete to his neck.

Then, according to a probable cause affidavit, she told him to take off his clothes.

Samantha Ray Mears, 19, now faces six charges after police say she forced her ex-boyfriend to have sex with her at machete-point, damaged his property and fled just as they were arriving. She is charged with aggravated battery, assault with a weapon, unlawful restraint, partner family member assault and two counts of criminal

mischief in Cascade County, Mont. It was not immediately clear whether Mears had an attorney. She allegedly told police the man kidnapped her and then gave her a machete to protect herself, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

The man told police that once she told him to undress she ordered him onto the bed. He complied because he feared what she might do to him. Mears then took off her pants, climbed on top of him and started having sex with him, still holding the machete, the affidavit alleges.

When the man tried to push her off, she bit him on the arm and kept going, he said.

“After the intercourse,” the affidavit said, “Mears sat on the bed, still armed with the machete, with her back against the wall.”

An argument began as soon as the sex ended, the man said, leading Mears to rip a piece of trim off his wall and then urinate on his bed, according to the affidavit. He found an opening to step away to pretend to call “Doug,” but really he was calling 911.

Police say Mears fled the unidentified man’s home just as the cops were pulling up to his house.

The man offered up his evidence once they arrived, according to the affidavit: a bite mark on his arm and pictures he took while Mears sat on the bed with her machete.

Mears has a history of assault charges against the man, whom she had been dating for approximately seven years


The search for D.B. Cooper

Investigators say they’ve confirmed skyjacker’s identity

A team of cold-case investigators claim they’ve decoded a 1972 message by D.B. Cooper — and that it contains a confession from Vietnam veteran Robert Rackstraw, long suspected of being the infamous skyjacker.

The letter was addressed to “The Portland Oregonian Newspaper.”

Months earlier, a man identified as the fictitious Cooper had hijacked a Seattle-bound flight and later parachuted out of a plane with $200,000, never to be heard from again.

“This letter is too (sic) let you know I am not dead but really alive and just back from the Bahamas, so your silly troopers up there can stop looking for me. That is just how dumb this government is. I like your articles about me but you can stop them now. D.B. Cooper is not real,” it reads.

“I want out of the system and saw a way through good ole Unk,” he writes. “Now it is Uncle’s turn to weep and pay one of it’s own some cash for a change. (And please tell the lackey cops D.B. Cooper is not my real name).”


Thomas J. Colbert Television and film producer Tom Colbert — who’s led a team of about 40 private investigators in the search for Cooper — said he received the letter after successfully suing the FBI for the Cooper files.

“No one even knew about this letter,” Colbert told the Daily News. “When I got it, I noticed it was typed just like (a different Cooper letter), so I called a code breaker and showed it to him. He said, ‘Tom, you’re not going to believe it, but his confession is in here,'” Colbert said.

Rick Sherwood, a former member of the Army Security Agency — which deciphers signals — said he spotted four phrases or words that were repeated throughout the note, including “D.B. Cooper is not real,” “Uncle” or “Unk” referring to Uncle Sam, “the system,” and “lackey cops.”

“D.B. Cooper” and “lackey cops” appeared in the same sentence, “as did “Unk” and “the system,” suggesting to Sherwood that the coded messages could be contained in those sentences.

He decoded “through good ole Unk” to mean “by skyjacking a jet plane,” using a system of letters and numbers.

“And please tell the lackey cops” was decoded to mean “I am 1st LT Robert Rackstraw,” according to Colbert.

Sherwood had deciphered earlier letters from Cooper and had become familiar with his writing style.

“I read it two or three times and said, ‘This is Rackstraw, this is what he does,'” Sherwood told the Daily News.

“I noticed he kept on repeating words in his sentences and thought he had a code in there somewhere. He was taunting like he normally does and I thought his name was going to be in it and sure enough the numbers added up perfectly,” he said.


Courtesy Thomas J. Colbert He said the entire decoding process took him a couple weeks.

“I was definitely shocked his name was in there. That’s what I was looking for and everything added up to that,” he said.

An earlier letter, addressed to four different newspapers, contained hidden identifiers — including his military units — that pointed to Rackstraw, now 74 and living in the San Diego area. Rackstraw, who could not be reached for comment, was previously investigated and cleared by authorities of being Cooper, but he remains the most likely suspect in the elusive case.

“Let’s just say we closed the case and this is icing on the cake I didn’t expect, it truly is. We not only had his initials and units in the other letters, but we now have him saying, ‘I am Cooper.’ Rackstraw is a narcissistic sociopath who never thought he would be caught,” Colbert said.

“He was trying to prove that he was smarter than anyone else. But he couldn’t fight 1500 years of brainpower on our team. We beat him. I didn’t expect it, but it’s the icing.”

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