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Infographic – Drug Overdose Epidemic Accelerating

Chart: drug overdose deaths

Click on image for full-size view (Statista)

24 July 2021. While the public’s attention for the past 18 months has been focused on Covid-19, the problem of opioid overdoses and deaths is still with us, and getting worse. Data on drug overdose deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are displayed on a chart published last week by the business research company Statista.

CDC’s data show drug overdose deaths in the U.S. from 1999 through 2019, with provisional data from 2020 added in. For 2019 and 2020, the data show a sharp upward spike in drug overdose deaths, exceeding 92,000 in 2020, some 5.5 times more than the 16,849 overdose deaths in 1999. Only in one year, 2018, did the number of drug overdose deaths drop, a 5.6 percent decline in 2018.

CDC says most of the drug overdose deaths in 2019 are from synthetic opioids, particularly fentanyl, as well as psychostimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and abuse of prescription opioids. The agency reports increasing cases of overdose deaths from multiple drugs, which increases the complexity of treating these cases. Social isolation from the Covid-19 pandemic is believed to contribute to the recent jump in drug overdoses.

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