Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the number of drug overdose deaths in the United States rose 4.6 percent in 2019 after falling for the first time in three decades in 2018.
Although the data will not be completed until later this year, it indicates that 70,980 people in the country died of drug overdose in 2019, up from 67,850 in 2018. The new issue also surpasses the 2017 mark, the previous peak.
The decline in fatal drug overdoses in 2018 was promised by the Trump administration, but according to the CDC, the District of Columbia and 18 states experienced all increases of at least 10 percent in 2019. The increase in overdose deaths can be strongly attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, but methamphetamine and cocaine deaths also rose .
Cocaine and psychostimulants such as meth accounted for 45.4 percent of all overdose deaths in 201
“We’ve called it the opioid crisis, but it’s really the drug crisis in the United States,” Michael Barnett, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told US News. “Overdose is a late-stage end result of a complex bridge of factors that lead to people becoming addicted and using substances that predispose to overdose.”
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told the publication that the increase in deaths from stimulants such as meth and cocaine is worrying because, unlike opioid addiction, there is not the same level of strong evidence-based treatments to help people overcome these addictions.
“The ability to provide naloxone to people who have overdosed has saved so many lives – but it’s for opioids,” Volkow explained.
Volkow also said that the current coronavirus pandemic could exacerbate the country’s drug addiction epidemic.
“We have two things that collide: the stress of the uncertainty of what will happen to COVID, and also the uncertainty of what will happen to you, [with high levels of] unemployment, or if you study, what will happen to your education, “Volkow said. And then the social distance and isolation that makes the whole process much worse. “
During the first four months of 2020, lethal drug dosages increased by 11.4 percent compared to 2019.