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.
A chilling @CDCgov report shows over 93k people died from drug overdoses in 2020 (a 29% increase in a single year). This heartbreaking news underscores the urgency of the #nihHEALinitiative's efforts to speed solutions to the opioid crisis. https://t.co/fNMY5RcbIg #NIH
— Francis S. Collins (@NIHDirector) July 15, 2021
“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.