Over 100,000 people in US died from drug overdoses last year
More than 100,000 people in the US died of drug overdoses in one year, a new record that health officials say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply.
Overdose deaths have been rising for more than two decades, accelerated in the past two years and, according to new data posted Wednesday, jumped nearly 30% in the latest year.
US President Joe Biden called it “a tragic milestone” in a statement, as administration officials pressed Congress to devote billions of dollars more to address the problem.
“This is unacceptable and it requites an unprecedented response,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of National Drug Control Policy.
Experts believe the top drivers of overdose deaths are the growing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the illicit drug supply and the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many drug users socially isolated and unable to get treatment or other support.
Drug overdoses now surpass deaths from car crashes, guns and even flu and pneumonia. The total is close to that for diabetes, the nation's No. 7 cause of death.
Drawing from the latest available death certificate data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 100,300 Americans died of drug overdoses from May 2020 to April 2021.