More than 81,000 Americans have died from a drug overdose in the 12 months ending in May of 2020. Which according to the CDC is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a year. These numbers suggest that the increase in deaths is accelerating in part due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
"The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard," said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D in a CDC press release . "As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it's important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences."
Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl appear to be the primary drugs that have caused this increase in deaths. Deaths caused by these drugs increased by 38.4%, methamphetamine related increased by 34.8%, and overdose deaths involving cocaine saw an increase of 26.5%. The CDC believes that the increase in cocaine related deaths is due to co-use of drugs or contamination with fentanyl or heroin.
The CDC has issued a health advisory in response to this increase in overdose deaths due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This advisory recommends overdose prevention education and more. The full advisory can be found HERE.