US surpasses 100,000 drug overdoses in 12-month span

0
15
US surpasses 100,000 drug overdoses in 12-month span

Drug overdose deaths in the US surged by nearly 30 percent over the previous year, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated 100,306 people died nationwide from overdoses during a 12-month period ending in April — a 28.5 percent spike from 78,056 tallied in the same span a year earlier.

Just four states — New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire and South Dakota — saw drug overdoses decrease, while Vermont had a nearly 70 percent rise, leading the country in the grave statistic. West Virginia and Kentucky had the next-highest increases at 62 and 54.5 percent, respectively, while New York saw a 20.4 percent hike.

“Today, new data reveal that our nation has reached a tragic milestone: more than 100,000 lives were lost to the overdose epidemic from April of last year to April of this year,” President Biden said in a statement. “As we continue to make strides to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country.”

The number of deaths caused by opioids has reached "staggering" numbers according to Robert Anderson of the CDC
Deaths caused by opioids have reached “staggering” numbers, according to CDC data.

Biden said nearly $4 billion has gone to strengthen and expand substance abuse and mental health services across the country while authorities work to cut off the supply of drugs in communities.

Deaths due to opioids, including highly potent fentanyl, accounted for more than 75 percent of fatalities during the yearlong span, data released Wednesday shows.

The CDC has previously reported there were about 93,000 overdose deaths in 2020 — the highest number ever tallied in a calendar year.

Robert Anderson, of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, has said the number of overdose deaths has outstripped deaths caused by car accidents.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports the number of overdose deaths has outstripped deaths caused by car accidents.
REUTERS/Bryan Woolston/File Photo

Robert Anderson, chief of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, said the increase was “staggering,” NBC News reported.

“Obviously, if we don’t get a handle on it, we’re going to have increasing deaths, and we’ve not already reached this grim milestone of 100,000,” Anderson said. “There’s nothing special about it other than we’re moving into six digits instead of five, and that’s a lot of people dying. Hopefully these statistics can galvanize action from public health programs and prevention.”

Drug overdose deaths increased 137 percent between 2000 and 2014, CDC data shows, including a 200 percent surge in fatalities involving opioids and heroin. The number of Americans who die in overdoses now surpasses fatalities involving car crashes, guns, influenza and pneumonia — ranking just beneath diabetes, the country’s No. 7 cause of death, the Associated Press reported.

Overdoses dipped slightly from 2017 to 2018, but started increasing again the following year, NBC News reported. Experts told the outlet the COVID-19 pandemic clearly played a role in the troubling milestone, but to what extent remains unclear.

President Biden said that even though the US is still dealing with COVID-19, it cannot forget the other battle we have going on against opioids.
President Biden said that even though the US is still dealing with COVID-19, it cannot forget the other battle going on against opioids.
REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

“Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition such that the stress or social isolation and the inability to access support groups could have resulted in relapses in people with opioid addiction,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, medical director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

“But for the past few years, opioid overdose deaths in the United States have skyrocketed,” Kolodny continued. “We’ve been in the midst of a severe crisis that’s getting worse and getting worse fast.”

Source link