U.S. overdose deaths hit record high

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 107,000 Americans died from overdosing on drugs in 2021 — or about one every five minutes.

Those record numbers, which consider death certificates and then take into account likely delayed or incomplete reporting, represent a 15% increase from the year before and follow an upward trajectory that has continued almost every year since the 1990s.

Why are overdoses increasing? While the overdose epidemic began with prescription opioids, increased usage of drugs such as heroin quickly followed.

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Deaths associated with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased by 23% last year.

Additionally, some experts point to isolation and limited services during the COVID-19 pandemic as significant contributors.

Locally, area law enforcement agencies collected hundreds of pounds of prescription drugs during the April 30 DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

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This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2022, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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