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Drug overdose deaths have substantially increased in the U.S., and set a new record for fatalities in the year ending in May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.
The CDC’s Health Alert Network released a report Thursday saying 81,230 drug overdose deaths occurred during that time starting in June 2019.
“This represents a worsening of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States and is the largest number of drug overdoses for a 12-month period ever recorded,” the agency said.
The CDC noted that “after declining 4.1% from 2017 to 2018, the number of overdose deaths increased 18.2% from the 12-months ending in June 2019.”
Drug overdose fatalities were already on the rise before the start of 2020, but accelerated once the COVID-19 pandemic stuck, the CDC says.
Synthetic opioids have been the primary source of the increases in overdose deaths, the agency continued, and that, “The 12-month count of synthetic opioid deaths increased 38.4% from the 12-months ending in June 2019 compared with the 12-months ending in May 2020.”
The CDC recommends expanding the use of naloxone, a medication that treats overdoses during emergencies, and that people should take overdose prevention classes.
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