Over 100,00 Americans have died due to drug overdoses in one year, according to a new estimate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC estimates that from May 2020 to April 2021, 100,306 Americans died from a drug overdose according to its predicted count. So far, the CDC’s reported count stands at 97,990.
The agency notes that “drug overdose deaths are often initially reported with no cause of death … because they require lengthy investigation.” The “predicted provisional counts represent estimates of the number of deaths adjusted for incomplete reporting.”
Starting in the second quarter of 2020, the same time as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of lockdowns, the number of deaths from drug overdoses began to rise precipitously.
Photo Credit: U.S. CDC
CBS News reports that, “Experts believe the top drivers 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.”
Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University expert on drug abuse, called the new numbers “devastating.”
“It’s a magnitude of overdose death that we haven’t seen in this country,” she added.
In a press release, the White House called the new data a “tragic milestone.”
“As we continue to make strides to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country,” the White House added.
Indeed, experts say that the rise in deaths from drug overdoses is likely to continue to climb.
The CDC’s chief of mortality statistics, Robert Anderson, believes the number of drug overdose deaths in 2021 will surpass 100,000.
“2021 is going to be terrible,” concurred Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a drug policy expert at the University of California, San Francisco.
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