U.S. drug overdose deaths reached record 93,000 in 2020

(The AEGIS Alliance) – Deaths in the United States caused by drug overdoses rose by a frightening 29% in 2020 to a record 93,000. This surge reveals the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the nation’s opioid crisis and also the worrying increase in fentanyl use, according to the CDC on Wednesday.

The 2020 death count estimation is substantially more than the prior record of 72,000 casualties during 2019. It’s likewise the biggest surge since about 1999.

“These data are chilling,” claimed Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse that is a part of the National Institutes of Health.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created a devastating collision of health crises in America,” Dr. Volkow pointed out. “This has been an incredibly uncertain and stressful time for many people, and we are seeing an increase in drug consumption, difficulty in accessing lifesaving treatments for substance use disorders, and a tragic rise in overdose deaths.”

The stunning rise was noticeably more in New York City that found 37% more overdose fatalities in 2020 than compared to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

Throughout the state of New York, there was a 32% increase in overdose casualties. The drug-related deaths in Connecticut climbed 11%, while New Jersey’s went up by merely 1%, the CDC’s data reveals.

One of the largest killers in 2020 had been the synthetic opioid fentanyl that the CDC pointed the finger at for greater than 60% of the overall drug-related fatalities.

Fentanyl, which is 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, was created to alleviate intense pain, yet has since come to be a prominent option for drug addicts that purchase it illegally as well as blend it together with other drugs, particularly heroin.

“What’s really driving the surge in overdoses is this increasingly poisoned drug supply,” Shannon Monnat, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University said.

“Nearly all of this increase is fentanyl contamination in some way. Heroin is contaminated. Cocaine is contaminated. Methamphetamine is contaminated,” she stated.

Experts strongly believe most of the overdose sufferers in 2020 were actually individuals that already had a problem with drug dependency, considering that there’s no evidence that additional Americans began consuming drugs throughout the pandemic.

But a Brown University public health scientist named Brandon Marshall who’s been tracking overdose patterns claimed the coronavirus “greatly exacerbated” what had already been a heartbreaking overdose epidemic.

“This is a staggering loss of human life,” he mentioned.

The worrying numbers came one day following President Biden nominating former West Virginia public health official Rahul Gupta to become his administration’s drug czar. Gupta, a health care physician, is expected to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy as well as oversee the government’s action to combat the opioid epidemic.

Volkow stated the nation must “prioritize making treatment options more widely available” to folks with drug dependencies as both the coronavirus pandemic and opioid epidemic is continuing to cause many deaths on a daily basis.

The group NO OD NY pointed out that one of the remedies is to develop stigma-free risk-free injection locations, also referred to as overdose prevention centers, where individuals may make use of opioids and also receive lifesaving treatment.

Jeffrey Childers – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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