CDC: Drug OD Deaths Reach Highest-Ever 12-Month Record (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Thursday, 17 December 2020 05:10 PM
A drug overdose epidemic has surged to its highest 12-month level ever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
After a plateau that stretched from early 2018 to early 2019, overdose deaths resumed their rise in the second half of last year, the data showed.
According to a new CDC report, an estimated 81,000 people died from a drug overdose between June 2019 and May this year, the highest number ever recorded in a 12-month period.
The provisional data suggest the pandemic accelerated overdose deaths, Axios reported, noting the CDC data lined up with previous figures showing overdose deaths spiked during the first three months of 2020.
In 2019, 71,000 people died of a drug overdose, a record.
Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are the culprit for most of the deaths. Their use increased about 38% compared to 2018-2019 data, Axios reported.
In the latest data, 10 western states reported over a 98% increase in synthetic opioid-involved deaths. Overdose deaths involving cocaine also increased by 26.5% nationwide.
''The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard,'' CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement, Axios reported.