CDC says drug overdose deaths reached highest on file final yr
More than 107,600 Americans died from drug overdoses final yr, the best annual demise toll on file, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentioned Wednesday.
Overdose deaths elevated 15 % in 2021, up from an estimated 93,655 fatalities the yr prior, in line with a report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which collects knowledge on a spread of well being subjects, together with drug use.
While the full variety of deaths reached file highs, the rise appeared to sluggish in comparison with the change seen from 2019 to 2020, when overdose deaths rose 30 %, in line with the report.
It’s nonetheless too early to say whether or not that slowdown will maintain, mentioned Farida Ahmad, a scientist on the well being statistics heart. The company’s newest report is taken into account provisional, that means the information is incomplete and topic to alter.
Even if the rise in overdose deaths is smaller in comparison with final yr, the 2021 whole remains to be an enormous quantity, Ahmad mentioned.
The knowledge helps illustrate one of many penalties of the pandemic, which has seen an uptick in substance abuse amid widespread unemployment and extra Americans reporting psychological well being points.
Overdose-related deaths have been already rising earlier than the pandemic, however there was “clearly a really sharp uptick in the course of the pandemic,” mentioned Joseph Friedman, an dependancy researcher on the University of California, Los Angeles. He revealed analysis in April that discovered drug overdose deaths amongst youngsters rose sharply over the past two years.
According to the NCHS report, fentanyl, a strong artificial opioid, was concerned in probably the most overdose deaths in 2021: 71,238.
Methamphetamine was implicated in 32,856 overdose deaths, cocaine in 24,538 deaths, and prescription ache medicines in 13,503 deaths.
Friedman mentioned that illicitly manufactured fentanyl, particularly, is a big downside within the U.S., as it may be packaged as drugs.
This month, Ohio State University officers warned of “fake Adderall” drugs laced with fentanyl following the demise of a scholar.
Ahmad agreed that fentanyl is a big downside, however added that different medicine, like methamphetamines, are additionally concerned in a lot of deaths, notably in Western states.
The largest share enhance in overdose deaths in 2021 was in Alaska, the place deaths have been up 75.3 % in comparison with the earlier yr, in line with the report.
To fight the overdose deaths, Friedman mentioned the U.S. ought to spend money on hurt discount and remedy packages for folks with substance abuse issues.
The downside impacts some teams greater than others — Native Americans probably the most, whereas the overdose demise fee for Black folks has overtaken whites, he mentioned.
Berkeley Lovelace Jr. is a well being and medical information reporter for freelancertamal.