Drug Overdose Deaths Top 100,000 in The U.S. For The First Time


Overdose Death on the Rise

Overdose deaths from drugs topped 100,000 people a year for the first time according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data tracks overdose deaths in the United States for the 12-month period ending in April of 2021. This is a new record high that saw overdose deaths jump nearly 30% over the same period a year earlier and is a doubling of such deaths during the past 5 years.

Opioids continue to be the main source of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. with synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, being the cause of death in nearly two-thirds (64%) of all drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending April 2021. This is up a staggering 49% from the year before.

The increasing abuse of fentanyl, which is both more powerful and fast-acting than opiates like Heroin, has been an important driver in the rising overdose death toll. Don’t wait for it to be too late get your loved help with a drug or alcohol intervention now!

Despite the fact that the synthetic drug fentanyl has been increasing in use over the last several years, some experts think that the Covid-19 pandemic may have accelerated the toll that the drug is taking. This is due to the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic and the fact that fentanyl is easier to manufacture in a lab is more concentrated than other opioids, making it easier to smuggle large quantities across the U.S. border.

According to a White House press briefing given by Anne Milgram of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the US government has seized enough fentanyl this year to give every American a lethal dose. She also said that the opioid overdose epidemic in the US “a national crisis” that “knows no geographical boundaries, and it continues to get worse.”

The new federal data shows that overdose deaths from methamphetamine and other psychostimulants also increased significantly, up 48% in the year ending April 2021 compared to the year before. They accounted for more than a quarter of all overdose deaths in the latest 12-month period.

Although fentanyl was once more popular on the East Coast and methamphetamine on the West Coast, experts say that the drug is now ubiquitous across the entire nation. Deaths from prescription pain medications and cocaine also increased compared with a year earlier, but not as drastically.

Last month, the US Department of Health and Human Services released an overview of the Biden Administration’s plan to combat drug overdoses. It includes measures aimed at addressing opioid prescription practices and removing barriers to treatments, as well as recovery support and federal support for harm reduction strategies.

“The evidence is really clear that using medications to treat opioid addiction disorders saves lives,” said Beth Connolly, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts substance use prevention and treatment initiative. “As we see more and more evidence that (medication) does save lives, that will hopefully reduce stigmatizing and categorizing in favor of supporting individuals.”

As of 2016, drug overdoses have killed about as many Americans as car accidents and gun violence combined. Now, drug overdoses cause about twice as many deaths.

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