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US Drug Overdose Deaths Topped 100,000 In One Year, a Never-Before-Seen Milestone, Officials Say

US Drug Overdose Deaths Topped 100,000 In One Year, a Never-Before-Seen Milestone, Officials Say | Newtown News of Interest |

An estimated 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in one year, a never-before-seen milestone that health officials say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply.


Overdose deaths have been rising for more than two decades, accelerated in the past two years and, according to new data posted Wednesday, jumped nearly 30% in the latest year.


Experts believe the top drivers of overdose deaths are the growing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the illicit drug supply and the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many drug users socially isolated and unable to get treatment or other support.


The number is “devastating,” said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University expert on drug abuse issues. “It’s a magnitude of overdose death that we haven’t seen in this country.”


Drug overdoses now surpass deaths from car crashes, guns and even flu and pneumonia. The total is close to that for diabetes, the nation’s No. 7 cause of death.


Drawing from the latest available death certificate data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 100,300 Americans died of drug overdoses from May 2020 to April 2021. It’s not an official count. It can take many months for death investigations involving drug fatalities to become final, so the agency made the estimate based on 98,000 reports it has received so far.


The CDC previously reported there were about 93,000 overdose deaths in 2020, the highest number recorded in a calendar year. Robert Anderson, the CDC’s chief of mortality statistics, said the 2021 tally is likely to surpass 100,000.


It found the estimated death toll rose in all but four states — Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota — compared with the same period a year earlier. The states with largest increases were Vermont (70%), West Virginia (62%) and Kentucky (55%).


[PA saw a 13.1% increase in overdose deaths for the 12 months ending April 2021.]


“2021 is going to be terrible,” agreed Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a drug policy expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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