The US national drug problem has reached a staggering limit.
From April 2020 to April 2021, the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 100,306 Americans died from drug overdoses, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is the first time that more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths have been reported in a 12 month period.
This is also a 28.5 percent increase from the 78,056 overdose deaths recorded from April 2019 to April 2020.
Substance abuse, and opioid abuse in particular, has long been an issue in the United States, and the pandemic proved to be a setback in the nation’s fight against overdoses.
From April 2020 through April 2021, more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, the most ever recorded in a single 12 month period. More than 78,000 of these deaths were caused by opioids. Pictured: Percocet tablets, a popular opioid
The report released Wednesday by the CDC finds opioids to be the biggest culprit behind the surge in opioid deaths.
More than 75 percent or 75,673 of overdose deaths during lockdown were caused by opioids.
That’s an increase of around 50 percent from the 56,064 opioid deaths recorded in the past 12 months.
The numbers break a new record from just three months ago.
In August, the CDC reported that 93,000 people had died from an overdose in 2020.
At the time it was a staggering number and the highest ever recorded in a single year.
“This is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12 month period and the largest increase since at least 1999,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in a statement in August.
She said the disturbances to everyday life caused by the pandemic and the stressors caused by the pandemic were one of the reasons why the number of opioid deaths rose sharply during the pandemic.
“This has been an incredibly unsafe and stressful time for many people, and we are seeing spikes in drug use, difficulty accessing life-saving treatments for substance use disorders, and a tragic increase in overdose deaths.
“As we continue to address both the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis, our priority must be to make treatment options more accessible to people with substance use disorders.”
The US had a record 93,000 opioid deaths in 2020, with the majority of those deaths also being due to opioids. Synthetic opioids have become a huge problem in America, accounting for 60% of opioid deaths in 2020. Pictured: OxyContin tablets, a popular opioid pain reliever
The updated number that is reported removes the beginning of 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic started, and adds the months of January and February when the pandemic was worst to the numbers.
Many of these deaths can be traced back to dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is 100% stronger than morphine.
Fentanyl is often mixed or cut with other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamines, and a person could unknowingly use it at a lethal dose.
In 2020, over 60 percent of opioid deaths were due to synthetic versions of the drug, down from less than one in five the previous year.
While the US overdose crisis is affecting the entire country, the Appalachians and the southeastern US have been hardest hit in recent years.