This Is the State Where Drug Overdoses Rose the Most
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released the annual “Provisional Number of Drug Overdose Deaths” for the period from December 2019 to December 2020. Overdoes rose an extraordinary 29.4% to a record of 93,331. The deaths are considered provisional because drug overdoses often are originally categorized as “no cause of death.” It can take weeks to get toxicology and other pertinent information.
As the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released the numbers, its experts commented: “Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Cocaine deaths also increased in 2020, as did deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication).”
The increase varied considerably by state. New Hampshire’s figure actually fell 0.5% to 393. The figure for South Dakota fell 15.9% to 74. In every other state, the percentage rose.
The state with the highest increase is New Hampshire’s neighbor Vermont. It posted a percentage increase of 57.6% to 186. Many other states with large increases were in the south. In South Carolina, the figure rose 51.9% to 1,730. In Tennessee, the number was up 44% to 3,128. In Kentucky, the number rose 53.7% to 2,104. And in Louisiana, the number was up 47.6% to 1,925.
Although no final conclusion has been given about the increase, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, remarked, “These data are chilling. The COVID-19 pandemic created a devastating collision of health crises in America.”
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