Kids today do fewer drugs than their parents did at the same age, but die more often.

That's the reality of the overdose epidemic America is in right now. Despite all the hype about today's kids being crazy about drugs, they aren't all hooked. Gen X'ers and millennials, when in their early 20s, actually do coke, weed, amphetamines and hallucinogens at a lower rate than the Baby Boomers did, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (compiled by

But those who do use drugs are ending up in coffins more than from generations past. The New York Times says overdosing is now the number one cause of death for people under 50.

The reason is simple: because millennials and Gen X'ers are into dangerous drugs.

Why? The painkillers doctors and insurance companies sling are a special kind of deadly — acting like an invisible tornado tearing through every town in America, every day of the year. They make the '60s and '70s eras of free love and free drugs look like a playdate.

Between 59,000 and 65,000 people died from overdoses last year, says one estimate from The Times — up 19 percent from the year before. The majority of those overdoses were from opioid painkillers, as many as 40,000 of them, our own government says.

It's a plague, spread one prescription at a time, hitting addicts and their kids. And it's worse than some of the worst epidemics in history. It surpasses even the historic highs of annual deaths due to firearms (about 40,000 in 1993), car accidents (about 55,000 in 1972) and HIV/AIDS (about 45,000 in 1995), according to

In some Ohio counties, they're running out of space in the morgue. In British Columbia, a quarter of donated organs come from fentanyl overdoses.

If American kids had followed in their parent's footsteps about drugs, would it have been this bad? After all, the Sixties' hippie drugs — cannabis, mushrooms and LSD — have never directly killed anyone, ever. And though the Seventies' party drugs like coke and amphetamines do kill people (causing thousands of overdose deaths each year), those only account for about one-tenth as many as opioid painkillers (or so says

And while coke overdoses are rising, it's opioids driving the increase.

Over the last 50 years, as society decided which drugs to take and which not to, a long and horrible mistake may have been made. Though it isn't all the fault of young people.

In fact it could be our own government's fault. The DEA told Gen X'ers and millennials to "Just Say No" to marijuana and hallucinogens (two categories now proven medicines) throughout the '80s and '90s. Meanwhile, the FDA and Big Pharma were telling everyone to "Just Say Yes" to deadly pills. …

Young people thought there were being smart and safe by listening.

Oddly enough, weed and hallucinogens are helping to curb the crisis, all while the new, accepted drugs continue to cost young people their lives.

[originally published July 3, 2017]