Oxycodone bottles and pills

Nearly every state saw a dramatic increase in drug-related deaths last year with a spike of nearly 30 percent nationwide compared to the year before, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

Opioids counted for 74.7 percent of overdose deaths. The synthetic opioid fentanyl has taken first place as the predominant drug leading to such deaths, accounting for more than 60 percent. Drug dealers frequently mix the white powder with other drugs to boost effects.

Did the pandemic affect drug use? The rise continues a years-long trend, but last year's pandemic lockdowns most likely contributed to the larger increase in death rates.

People with drug addictions are often told to stay near others when they’re using so someone can revive them if they pass out. Lockdown rules prohibited group gatherings, in-person support, safe injection sites, and some addiction treatment services.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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