Drug Crisis: Overdose Deaths Surpass 100,000 for First Time in U.S. History

Synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl, continue to be the leading cause of overdose deaths, according to CDC data

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Drug overdose deaths in the United States exceeded 100,000 in the 12-month period ending last April, a record number, according to provisional data from the CDC. The data shows that there were an estimated 100,306 overdose deaths nationwide during those 12 months, up from 78,056 reported during the same period last year, an increase of 28.5%.

Synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl, continued to be the leading reason for overdose deaths, accounting for nearly two-thirds (64%) of all overdose deaths, an increase of 49% from the previous year.

The CDC notes that fentanyl is 50 times stronger than morphine and heroin, and is often sold illegally because it has similar effects to heroin.

These figures show that overdose deaths from methamphetamine and other psychostimulants also grew significantly, up 48% in the year ending April 2021 compared to the previous year.

Deaths from cocaine and prescription painkillers were also up from the previous year, but not as dramatically.

After learning that data, President Joe Biden pledged to do everything in his “power to address addiction and end the overdose epidemic.”

“We are strengthening prevention, promoting harm reduction, expanding treatment, and supporting people in recovery, as well as reducing the supply of harmful substances in our communities. And we won’t let up,” Biden said.

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