- Between March 2020 and March 2021, the US recorded a record-high 96,779 drug overdose deaths, new CDC data shows
- This is an increase of 29.5% from the 74,679 overdose deaths reported in the 12-month period from March 2019 to March 2020.
- South Dakota saw the decrease among three states, with the biggest drop of 16.3%, while Vermont saw the biggest increase at 85.1%
- Synthetic opioids were the primary driver of subsequent opioid overdose deaths, except for methadone.
A record number of Americans died of drug overdoses during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, new figures from the federal government show.
Between March 2020 – when most states began issuing lockdowns and stay-at-home orders – and March 2021, according to data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, there were 96,779 overdose fatalities. Were. (NCHS).
This represents an increase of 29.5 per cent from the approximately 74,679 drug overdose deaths recorded in the last 12 months ending March 2020.
The spike appears to be driven primarily by increased use of opioids since last year, and in particular fentanyl, the synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine.
The pandemic has created the perfect breeding ground for addiction, turning to opioids to cope with job loss and canceling the deaths of loved ones or replacing them with telemedicine for those trying to maintain sobriety.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, the US recorded a record-high 96,779 drug overdose deaths, new CDC data shows (above)
This is an increase of 30.8% from the 74,679 overdose deaths reported in the 12-month period from March 2019 to March 2020. Pictured: Firefighters and paramedics with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department transport a patient after answering a call for cardiac arrest. About a drug overdose in Brooklyn, Maryland, May 2020
CDC looked at death records obtained and processed by the NCHS’s National Vital Statistical System.
After a decline in overdose deaths between November 2017 and March 2019, deaths began to rise again.
Drug overdose deaths in particular have accelerated during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase was for the first time starting from the 12-month period ending March 2020 to the 12 months ending April 2020, rising from 74,676 deaths to 77,017.
As of May 2020, 80,577 deaths were recorded over a 12-month period, with a continuous increase till March 2021.
Just three states, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota, saw a decline in the number of overdose deaths from March 2020 to March 2021.
South Dakota saw the decrease among three states, with the biggest drop of 16.3%, while Vermont saw the biggest increase at 85.1%
Opioids (black line) were the primary driver of overdose deaths after synthetic opioids (brown line) except methadone
The biggest decline was seen in South Dakota with a decline of 16.3 percent.
Meanwhile, of every other state and the District of Columbia, Vermont saw an increase in the number of deaths, with the largest spike reporting 85.1 percent in a 12-month period.
The report found that excluding methadone, followed by synthetic opioids was the primary driver of opioid overdose deaths.
Deaths from synthetic opioids, such as those due to fentanyl, increased 53 percent from the 12-months ending March 2020 to the 12-months ending March 2021.
Additionally, methadone, which treats opioid use disorder, saw the lowest number of fatalities over this time period.
Earlier this year, the CDC released a provisional report showing that 93,331 US drug overdose deaths were recorded in 2020, a 29.4% jump from the 72,151 deaths reported in 2019.
“It is important to remember that behind these devastating numbers are family, friends and community members who are grieving the loss of loved ones,” said Regina LaBelle, executive director of the National Drug Control Policy Office of the President. CNN.
He encouraged Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s budget request to help fund substance abuse treatment and prevention programs.
The provisional data comes just months after the CDC released another provisional report detailing how 93,300 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2020.
This represents a jump of 29.4 per cent from the 72,000 deaths recorded in 2019 and is the biggest single-year increase ever.
Dr Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, lamented that efforts to reduce overdose deaths have been increased and encouraged.
“This has been an incredibly uncertain and stressful time for many people and we are seeing a rise in drug consumption, difficulty accessing life-saving treatment for substance use disorders, and a tragic increase in overdose deaths. are,” she said in one. Statement.
‘As we continue to address both the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis, we must prioritize making treatment options more widely available for people with substance use disorders.’