U.S. saw more than 93K overdose deaths during pandemic

Tablets believed to be laced with fentanyl are displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration Northeast Regional Laboratory on October 8, 2019 in New York. - According to US government data, about 32,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2018. That accounts for 46 percent of all fatal overdoses. Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for a range of conditions, has been central to the American opioid crisis which began in the late 1990s. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

Tablets believed to be laced with fentanyl are displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration Northeast Regional Laboratory on October 8, 2019 in New York. (DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

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UPDATED 1:32 PM PT – Thursday, July 15, 2021

Opioid deaths soared during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a U.S. government report. The report released on Wednesday, found overdose deaths exceeded 93,000 in 2020. This showed a sharp increase from the 72,000 reported the year prior.

Officials have attributed this rise to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and the isolation that followed, which reportedly made it harder for addicts to receive care. Numbers also point to an increasingly poisoned drug supply, as dealers looked to lower manufacturing costs by cutting the illegal narcotics with cheaper drugs such as fentanyl.

“Nearly all of this increase is fentanyl contamination in some way,” said Shannon Monnat, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University. “Heroin is contaminated. Cocaine is contaminated. Methamphetamine is contaminated.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 48 states saw overdose increases during 2020.

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