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Drug overdose deaths increased 30% during onset of pandemic, CDC data says

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Posted at 10:00 AM, Jul 19, 2022

Drug overdose deaths increased 30% in 2020 as compared to 2019, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released Tuesday indicated.

The data show the spike in overdose deaths was even more pronounced among Black and American Indian and Alaska Native people. The CDC said drug overdose deaths increased 44% among Black Americans and 39% among American Indian and Alaska Native Americans.

The CDC also noted a 24% increase in drug-overdose fatalities among white Americans,.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl largely drove the increase, the CDC said.

The CDC also noted the pandemic disrupted “access to prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services” and likely contributed to this increase.

“The increase in overdose deaths and widening disparities are alarming,” said CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director Dr. Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H. “Overdose deaths are preventable, and we must redouble our efforts to make overdose prevention a priority. We will continue to support and work collaboratively with communities like we do with CDC’s Overdose Data to Action. Providing tailored tools and resources to combat overdose and address underlying risk factors will ultimately help reduce health disparities and save lives.”