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U.S. surpassed 100,000 overdose deaths in first 12 months of COVID-19

U.S. surpassed 100,000 overdose deaths in first 12 months of COVID-19

Greater than 100,000 folks in america fatally overdosed on medicine through the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on staggering new preliminary knowledge launched Tuesday.

Between April 2020 and April 2021, overdose deaths within the U.S. elevated by 28.5 p.c over the earlier 12 months, a report from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention discovered, confirming many specialists’ worst fears about dueling crises in public well being. 

“An overdose is a cry for assist,” stated Dr. Rahul Gupta, who directs the White Home Workplace of Drug Management Coverage, throughout a name with reporters Wednesday. 

Vermont, West Virginia and Kentucky noticed the nation’s steepest climbs in overdose deaths. However these deaths had been up throughout a lot of the nation, with fentanyl linked to a lot of them. In September, the Division of Justice introduced a crackdown on fentanyl throughout the U.S., noting that legal drug networks had been producing and distributing drugs laced with the artificial opioid.

To answer this rise in drug-related deaths, Well being Secretary Xavier Becerra stated the Biden administration would roll out a four-prong technique. This consists of major prevention, evidence-based therapy, restoration help and hurt discount, similar to expanded entry to naloxone, a life-saving antidote that reverses probably deadly overdose.

“We’re going to remain there with you shoulder-to-shoulder,” Becerra stated, emphasizing the necessity to help people who find themselves able to enter restoration.

For too lengthy, entry to naloxone has been dictated by an individual’s ZIP code, Gupta stated. That’s the reason the Biden administration shared mannequin laws for states to contemplate that might increase attain of naloxone into communities the place this antidote has been troublesome to search out. 

Over the past decade, opioids had been tied to a multi-year dip in U.S. life expectancy, partially as a result of so many individuals who overdosed had been pretty younger. However instantly earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, these life expectancy tendencies had been beginning to tilt upward.

Entry to medication-assisted therapy and naloxone was on the rise, and communities had been lastly getting the monetary and strategic assist they wanted. The pandemic disrupted folks’s help methods, together with transportation to well being suppliers the place they may get the assistance they wanted whereas in restoration.

“Nobody ought to die of an overdose just because they didn’t have entry to naloxone,” Gupta stated.

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