Thanks to the epidemic created in doctors’ offices and medicine cabinets across the country, the death rate is rising in America for nearly every racial and economic group, even among Americans who are in their prime.

When it comes to addicting opioids, the pills don’t care if you’re rich or poor, black or white – it will come for us all. That is, if we allow ourselves to become addicted through a series of unfortunate events beginning with greedy pharmaceutical companies and ending with a lack of social programs to treat addiction.

According to the latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control, the overall death rate for Americans between the ages of 25 and 44 has risen eight percent between 2010 and 2015. That number applies to virtually every racial and ethnic group, as well as across all U.S. states.

When you break down that overall rate, there are disparities in race. The death rate for whites is up twelve percent, while the death rate for black Americans is up four percent.

Until now, the death rate for this age group had been on decline for an entire century thanks to advancements in medicine and a greater understanding of the human body and disease. Now, though, some of those same advancements are killing young, healthy Americans by the thousands.

Unfortunately, the survey results which only show the death rate up to 2015 is expected to be far outmatched by results for 2016 and 2017. So far, results from the first half of 2016 shows that the upward trend of mortality is continuing in this age group.

It is up to us as a society to determine what the results will be for the coming years. Will we continue to allow big pharma to run rampant, addicting millions and resulting in the death of thousands, or will we engage in limiting the market, restricting the producers and distributors, and engage in an aggressive regiment of rehabilitation and social programs to combat addiction already in the communities.

Sydney is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues.