US sets record for overdose death in 2021 | News
More than 107,000 Americans will die in 2021 from drug overdoses, setting another record in the nation’s growing overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated on Wednesday. ).
Drug state of emergency declared in San Francisco
Of the nearly 108,000 people who died from drug overdoses in 2021, roughly two-thirds of those deaths involved fentanyl or another synthetic opioid.
The CDC confirms that overdose deaths have been on the rise for years in the US, but have increased amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Annual deaths were almost 50 percent higher in 2021 than in 2019, according to CDC data.
The increase in overdose deaths in the second year of the pandemic was not as dramatic as in the first year: They increased by about 15 percent between 2020 and 2021, compared to a 30 percent increase between 2019 and 2020.
In 2021, about 14,000 more people died from overdoses than in 2020, according to the CDC: “Indeed, this is the continuation of a terrible trend. Overdose death rates have been on the rise for decades, rising at unprecedented rates just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States,” said the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services also explained that drug abuse treatment was lacking even before the pandemic.
In 2019, more than 20 million people over the age of 12 reported having a substance use disorder, of whom only 10 percent reported receiving care.
Overdose deaths are often attributed to more than one drug. Some people take multiple drugs, and cheap fentanyl has increasingly been reduced to other drugs, often without the knowledge of buyers, authorities say.
The rise in use of the synthetic drug caught the attention of experts before Covid-19 hit, but the pandemic may have exacerbated the problem.
With limited international travel, synthetics that are easier to make and more concentrated were likely more efficient to smuggle across borders, Volkow said.
Overdose death trends are geographically uneven. Alaska saw a 75 percent increase in 2021, the largest jump of any state. In Hawaii, overdose deaths dropped by 2 percent.