'Highs' & Lows: Liberal Drug Culture Has Led To A Record Number Of Overdoses - This Many Killed So Far

By Rachel Morris | Saturday, 14 May 2022 01:15
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The number of deadly drug overdoses jumped 15% in 2021 to more than 107,000, exceeding the previous record set last Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.

The provisional 2021 data were gleaned from death certificates, including at least one specific drug. The synthetic opioid Fentanyl has caused more overdoses than any other drug, leading to more than 71,000 deaths, up 23% from the year before. Fatal overdoses linked to cocaine increased by 23% in 2021, while deaths due to Methamphetamine overdoses grew by 34%.

“It is unacceptable that we are losing a life to overdoses every five minutes around the clock,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The CDC previously reported a 30% increase in the number of fatal overdoses in 2020, representing a record of 93,000 deaths. Opioids, usually Fentanyl or other illegal synthetic drugs, accounted for most of the overdose deaths in 2019 and 2020, making up 72.9% of 2020 deaths, up from 70.6% in 2019.

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The overdose-related deaths in 2021 were not spread evenly across the United States. For instance, Alaska saw the sharpest increase in fatal overdoses, with more than 75%. Hawaii, meanwhile, saw overdose deaths decline by around 1.8%.

The pandemic worsened the overdose epidemic, which asked people to quarantine and keep their space from others early on, leading to feelings of isolation and despair. The strict restrictions on movement, established in early 2020, limited treatment options for people in recovery.

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It’s still too early to say whether that slowdown will hold, said Farida Ahmad, a scientist at the health statistics center. The agency’s latest report is deemed provisional, indicating the data is preliminary and subject to shift.

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Even if the increase in overdose deaths is smaller than last year, Ahmad said the 2021 total is still a huge number.

The data helps demonstrate one of the consequences of the pandemic, which has seen a rise in substance abuse amid widespread unemployment and more Americans reporting mental health issues.

Overdose-related deaths were already increasing before the pandemic. Still, there was “clearly a very sharp uptick during the pandemic,” said Joseph Friedman, an addiction researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. He published research in April that found drug overdose deaths among teenagers rose sharply over the last two years.

According to the NCHS report, Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, was involved in the most overdose deaths in 2021: 71,238.

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