(CTN News) – More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, another tragic record in the country’s escalating drug overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated Wednesday.
Approximately one Drug overdose death occurs in the U.S. every five minutes, according to the provisional figure for 2021. The previous record was broken by 15%. For delayed or incomplete death certificates, the CDC makes an estimate.
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called the latest statistics “truly staggering.”
US drug overdose deaths rose over more than two decades
For more than two decades, U.S. Drug overdose deaths have been rising. In the 1990s, opioid painkillers were the leading cause of overdoses, followed by heroin and – most recently – illicit fentanyl. CNN Reported
Overdoses involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids reached 71,000 last year, a 23% increase from the year before. Additionally, cocaine-related deaths increased by 23% while meth-related deaths increased by 34%.
Drug Overdose deaths are often caused by more than one drug. Increasingly, inexpensive fentanyl is being put into other drugs without the buyers’ knowledge, officials say.
Consequently, many more people, including those who use drugs occasionally and even adolescents, are exposed to these powerful substances, which can cause someone to overdose even with a relatively small exposure, Volkow said in a statement.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and other restrictions isolated those with drug addictions and made treatment more difficult.
Geographically, Drug overdose death trends differ. Alaska experienced the biggest increase in 2021, increasing by 75%. Overdose deaths in Hawaii decreased by 2%.