US overdose deaths hit record 93,000 in pandemic last year

US overdose deaths hit record 93,000 in pandemic last year

NEW YORK: The US government said on Wednesday that overdose deaths reached a record 93,000 last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This estimate so far eclipses that there has been an increase of approximately 72,000 drug overdose deaths in the past year and is a 29% increase.
“It’s a staggering loss of human life,” said Brown University public health researcher Brandon Marshall.
He said the nation was already battling its worst pandemic, but clearly “Covid has greatly exacerbated the crisis,” he said.
Experts said the lockdown and other pandemic restrictions has isolated people with drug addiction and made treatment difficult.
Jordan McGlashan died of a drug overdose last year in his Ypsilanti, Michigan, apartment. He was pronounced dead on May 6, a day before his 39th birthday.
“It was really hard for me to think about how Jordan died. He was lonely, and was emotionally traumatized and felt like he had to have access again,” said his younger brother, Colin McGlashen, who was his brother. Wrote openly about addiction. an obituary.
Heroin and fentanyl were blamed for the death of Jordan McGlashan.
While prescription painkillers once drove the nation’s overdose epidemic, in recent years they have been replaced first by heroin and then by the dangerously potent opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl was developed to treat acute pain caused by diseases such as cancer, but is being sold illegally and mixed with other drugs.
“What’s really driving the increase in overdoses is the increasingly toxic drug supply,” said Shannon Monat, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University who researches geographic patterns in overdoses. “Almost all of this increase is fentanyl contamination in some way. Heroin is contaminated. Cocaine is contaminated. Methamphetamine is contaminated.”
Monat said there was no evidence that more Americans started using drugs last year. Rather, the increased deaths were most likely to be people who were already struggling with addiction. Some have told her research team that eviction suspensions and expanded unemployment benefits have left them with more money than usual. And he said, “When I have the money, I stock up on my (drug) supplies,” she said.
Overdose deaths are just one aspect of the deadliest year overall in US history. With around 378,000 deaths due to COVID-19, the nation witnessed over 3.3 million deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed death certificates to come up with an estimate of 2020 drug overdose deaths. The estimate of more than 93,000 translates to an average of more than 250 deaths each day, or about 11 per hour.
The 21,000 increase is the biggest year-on-year jump since the 11,000 increase in 2016.
More historical context: According to the CDC, America’s total overdose deaths were less than 7,200 in 1970, when the heroin epidemic was raging in American cities. There were about 9,000 in 1988, around the height of the rift epidemic.
The CDC reported that drug overdoses increased in 2020 in all but two states, New Hampshire and South Dakota.
Kentucky’s overdose count rose 54% last year to more than 2,100, from less than 1,400 a year earlier. South Carolina, West Virginia and California also saw large increases. Vermont had the biggest jump, about 58%, but smaller numbers — 118 to 186.
The prevalence of fentanyl is one reason why some experts do not expect any significant decline in drug overdose deaths this year. Although national figures are not yet available, data is emerging from some states that support his pessimism. For example, Rhode Island reported 34 deaths in January and 37 in February — the most for those months in at least five years.
For Colin McGlashen, last year was “an incredibly dark time” that began in January with the death of the family’s beloved patriarch from cancer.
His father’s death sent his musician brother Jordan into a tailspin, McGlashen said.
“One can do really well for so long and then, in an instant, go bad,” he said.
Then came the pandemic. Jordan lost his job. “It was like a final descent.”

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