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Drug Overdose Deaths Jumped 30% Last Year in U.S.

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By Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporters

WEDNESDAY, July fourteen, 2021

As The us went into lockdown and cure facilities closed their doorways, drug overdose fatalities in the United States jumped by practically a third previous calendar year, new data clearly show.

The approximated 93,331 drug overdose fatalities recorded for the duration of 2020 are a sharp boost — a 29.4% increase — above the 72,151 fatalities approximated in 2019, according to preliminary data from the Nationwide Center for Well being Data (NCHS). The NCHS is section of the U.S. Centers for Disease Handle and Prevention.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse, termed the new figures “chilling.”

“”This is the greatest quantity of overdose fatalities ever recorded in a twelve-month interval, and the greatest boost due to the fact at least 1999,” she claimed. “The COVID-19 pandemic established a devastating collision of well being crises in The us.”

The new NCHS data also clearly show that overdose fatalities from opioids, specifically, spiked from fifty,963 in 2019 to sixty nine,710 in 2020, about a 27% increase.

Overdose fatalities from artificial opioids (principally fentanyl) and psychostimulants these types of as methamphetamine also rose from 2019 to 2020, the report found. There have been also raises in fatalities from semi-artificial opioids these types of as prescription suffering prescription drugs and from cocaine.

Volkow, who wasn’t involved in the new report, claimed the sharp and tragic increase in overdoses stems from a mixture of elements.

“This has been an amazingly unsure and tense time for many people and we are seeing an boost in drug consumption, difficulty in accessing lifesaving treatment plans for material use problems, and a tragic increase in overdose fatalities,” she claimed.

Dr. Teresa Murray Amato has noticed cases of overdose firsthand in her role as chair of emergency medication at Very long Island Jewish Forest Hills, in New York Town.

“Individually I have notice many individuals complaining about insomnia, increased panic and struggles with drug misuse as a suggests of self-medicating,” she claimed. “If you or a liked just one are involved about drug misuse, make sure you access out to your medical professional and make a safe system.”

Amato believes elements other than COVID may well have been at engage in. “About the past calendar year we have also noticed increased social unrest, primary to typical increased panic as people are uncovered to violent photographs in the information additional commonly,” she claimed.

Another skilled claimed COVID fears stored many from in search of aid.

Some people “avoided in search of care for psychological well being or material use complications – inspite of the point that healthcare vendors, including our possess clinic, commenced to assess, acknowledge and treat individuals remotely anywhere attainable, in buy to take away limitations to access,” claimed Dr. Timothy Sullivan, chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Staten Island College Hospital in New York Town.

“Most opioid cure courses, these types of as methadone courses, radically transformed their insurance policies concerning provision of just take-property bottles, for occasion, in buy to aid access,” he included.

All the professionals agreed that access to well timed well being care is crucial.

“As we proceed to handle both the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis, we need to prioritize creating cure possibilities additional widely accessible to people with material use problems,” Volkow claimed.

The new NCHS data included reported and predicted drug overdose fatalities nationally and in just about every jurisdiction, as properly as reported and predicted drug overdose fatalities involving certain medicines or drug classes.

Additional info

The U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse has additional about drug overdose fatalities.

Resources: Nora Volkow, MD, director, Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Centers for Disease Handle and Prevention Timothy Sullivan, MD, chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Staten Island College Hospital, New York Town Teresa Murray Amato, MD, chair, emergency medication, Very long Island Jewish Forest Hills, New York Town information release, July fourteen, 2021

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