Drugs killed more Michiganders than guns and traffic combined in 2017


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An estimated 2,662 Michiganders died from drug overdoses in 2017, according to a new report released this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The figure marks an 82 percent increase over the past five years and an 8 percent jump from 2016. That means that last year, more Michigan residents died from drug overdoses than from firearms (1,230) and traffic (1,028) combined.

And that's likely not the whole figure — the CDC says that the estimates are based on death certificates, some of which are still pending investigation.

The overdoses have been linked to a rise in abuse of opioids, which have been linked to overprescription by doctors, with the number of opioid-related deaths in Michigan quintupling since 2004. Last year, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed a 10-bill package aimed at cracking down on "pill mills."

Studies show opioid overdoses have decreased in states that have easier access to marijuana. Michigan, which has allowed medicinal marijuana since 2008, will vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in November.

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