Yearly Drug Overdose Deaths Top 100,000 For The First Time Ever

By Bill Galluccio

November 17, 2021

drug syringe and cooked heroin on spoon. drug addict problem and therapy concept
Photo: Getty Images

More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States between April 2020 and April 2021, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The shocking number of deaths is a new record and marks a 29% increase from the previous year. The surge in deaths was fueled by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which accounted for 64% of all overdose deaths. In addition, deaths from methamphetamine and other psychostimulants rose by 48%, making up more than 25% of overdose deaths.

Most states saw the number of overdose deaths increase. Vermont saw the most significant increase in deaths at 70%, followed by West Virginia at 62%, Kentucky with a 55% increase, and Louisiana with 52% more overdose deaths.

Only four states, Deleware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and South Dakota, saw the number of overdose deaths decrease over the past year.

"What we're seeing are the effects of these patterns of crisis and the appearance of more dangerous drugs at much lower prices," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told CNN. "In a crisis of this magnitude, those already taking drugs may take higher amounts, and those in recovery may relapse. It's a phenomenon we've seen and perhaps could have predicted."

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