Overdose Deaths Jump 18% in the Past Year (through May 2020)

The latest monthly drug overdose death data for the United States was released today, and the numbers paint a disturbing picture about the on-going drug crisis facing the country.  According to these provisional data, there were an estimated 81,230 overdose deaths from June 2019 thru May of 2020 – a dramatic 18% increase from the 68,829 deaths from the same period a year ago.  After declining in 2018 – the first decline in 28 years – overdose deaths in the U.S. have increased at a rapid pace, beginning during the summer of 2019, and the increase has been growing more rapidly in recent months, coinciding with the on-set of the pandemic.  Drug overdose deaths were up during this period in all but four U.S. states – New Hampshire, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho (which saw no change), and the biggest increases were observed in Louisiana, Iowa, Wyoming, and Maine.  In some jurisdictions the increases were even greater.  In Washington, D.C., for example, the increase in the past year was 60% – a much larger jump than in any individual state.  There were over 10,000 more deaths nationwide during this period from opioid overdoses, particularly those involving fentanyl, as well as increases in deaths from cocaine and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine.  Deaths from heroin, which were slightly lower in this most recent period, have leveled off in recent years.  Below are some highlights from the release:

*Source: National Vital Statistics System, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm

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