Fentanyl Overdose Rates Are Rising Fast

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/overdose-rates-are-rising-fast-cdc-drugs-opiod-crisis-substance-abuse-addiction-fatal-syringe-11652904604

Excerpt:

The latest tally of fatal drug overdoses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows nearly 108,000 fatalities in 2021. This is far more than in 2017, when President Trump declared drug deaths a public-health emergency. Among blacks, the drug mortality rate has quadrupled in less than eight years.

The Trump administration acted aggressively and directed agencies to implement several recommendations from the Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. These included changes to prescribing patterns, treatment paradigms and law-enforcement procedures. The rate of deaths from drug overdoses slowed and then dipped. But then Covid hit, with all its mental-health consequences. The addiction and overdose crisis is now the most important public-health issue facing the country.

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Coincident with policy changes advertised as civil-rights progress, the comparatively low drug-overdose rate for blacks began to accelerate. It reached the white rate by 2019 and then surged past it during the pandemic to reach 43 annually per 100,000 of the black population by last September.

Rather than gawking at an accelerating overdose crisis, policy makers could benefit people of all races by investigating new sources of demand and supply. Instead, in a world where a single backpack of fentanyl could kill a million people, Mr. Biden eliminates the controls on illegal immigration instituted by his predecessor.

Author(s): Joseph Grogan and Casey B. Mulligan

Publication Date: 18 May 2022

Publication Site: WSJ

Drug-Overdose Deaths Reached a Record in 2021, Fueled by Fentanyl

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/drug-overdose-deaths-reached-a-record-in-2021-fueled-by-fentanyl-11652277600

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Drug-overdose deaths in 2021 topped 100,000 for the first time in a calendar year, federal data showed, a record high fueled by the spread of illicit forms of fentanyl throughout the country.

More than 107,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses last year, preliminary Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released Wednesday showed, roughly a 15% increase from 2020. The proliferation of the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl has been compounded by the destabilizing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on users and people in recovery, according to health authorities and treatment providers.

The U.S. has recorded more than one million overdose deaths since 2000, and more than half of those came in the past seven years.

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The agency has counted about 103,600 overdoses for 2021 but believes the number is several thousand higher due to suspected overdoses that haven’t yet been confirmed by local death investigators, Dr. Anderson said.

Author(s): Jon Kamp

Publication Date: 11 May 2022

Publication Site: WSJ

US overdose deaths hit record 107,000 last year, CDC says

Link: https://www.fox10tv.com/2022/05/11/us-overdose-deaths-hit-record-107000-last-year-cdc-says/

Excerpt:

More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting another tragic record in the nation’s escalating overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated Wednesday.

The provisional 2021 total translates to roughly one U.S. overdose death every 5 minutes. It marked a 15% increase from the previous record, set the year before. The CDC reviews death certificates and then makes an estimate to account for delayed and incomplete reporting.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called the latest numbers “truly staggering.”

The White House issued a statement calling the accelerating pace of overdose deaths “unacceptable” and promoting its recently announced national drug control strategy. It calls for measures like connecting more people to treatment, disrupting drug trafficking and expanding access to the overdose-reversing medication naloxone.

U.S. overdose deaths have risen most years for more than two decades. The increase began in the 1990s with overdoses involving opioid painkillers, followed by waves of deaths led by other opioids like heroin and — most recently — illicit fentanyl.

Author(s): Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

Publication Date: 11 May 2022

Publication Site: Fox 10 TV

More than 1 million have died in the overdose crisis, but still the response is scandalously inadequate

Link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/24/dopesick-author-on-opioid-crisis/

Excerpt:

These are measures taken by people desperately fighting, largely on their own, against a drug-overdose death toll that historically has killed more Americans than the coronavirus pandemic. Since 1996, the year OxyContin launched and the United States’ health-care system fell prey to the lie that opioid painkillers were safe for virtually everything from headaches to wisdom-tooth surgery, more than 1 million Americans have died of overdoses; the coronavirus pandemic has claimed about 850,000. During the first year of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a record 100,000 annual overdose deaths.

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But with an even more lethal overdose crisis — and that’s not counting all the addiction-related deaths from hepatitis, endocarditis and suicide — the nation’s leadership appears capable of only minor tweaks.

Some blue-leaning states and cities now offer evidence-backed practices such as supplying drug users with clean needles and fentanyl test strips, and even offering medically supervised spaces to inject illicit drugs — all of which foster important connections to professional care and wraparound services. But in much of the world’s richest nation, where a few million Americans suffer with opioid use disorder, these measures remain anathema.

The pandemic-prompted loosening of federal regulations for the telehealth prescribing of buprenorphine, the lifesaving addiction medication, has been a bright spot, particularly for rural people who have long struggled with transportation issues. But that policy change remains temporary and the treatment gap (with an estimated 10 to 12 percent of addicted people receiving treatment in an average year) has barely budged.

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Epidemiologists predict that by 2029, U.S. overdose deaths will have doubled to nearly 2 million. Until we stop arresting and abandoning people who use drugs and start meeting them where they are with treatment and compassion, rare will be the family that remains untouched.

Author(s): Beth Macy

Publication Date: 24 Jan 2022

Publication Site: Washington Post

Americans are overdosing on a drug they don’t know they’re taking

Link:https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/17/politics/fentanyl-overdose-deaths-what-matters/index.html

Excerpt:

From May 2020 through April 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US, according to provisional data released Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s a horrible new record for drug overdose deaths — a near-30% rise from the same period a year earlier and a near-doubling over the past five years.

The drug epidemic grew in tandem with the Covid-19 pandemic, which claimed about 509,000 deaths in the same period.

Author(s): Zachary B. Wolf

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2021

Publication Site: CNN

US overdose deaths topped 100,000 in one year, officials say

Link:https://apnews.com/article/overdodse-deaths-fentanayl-health-f34b022d75a1eb9776e27903ab40670f

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An estimated 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in one year, a never-before-seen milestone that health officials say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply.

Overdose deaths have been rising for more than two decades, accelerated in the past two years and, according to new data posted Wednesday, jumped nearly 30% in the latest year.

President Joe Biden called it “a tragic milestone” in a statement, as administration officials pressed Congress to devote billions of dollars more to address the problem.

“This is unacceptable and it requires an unprecedented response,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of National Drug Control Policy.

Experts believe the top drivers of overdose deaths are the growing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the illicit drug supply and the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many drug users socially isolated and unable to get treatment or other support.

Author(s): Mike Stobbe

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2021

Publication Site: Associated Press

699 people died of drug overdoses in San Francisco last year compared to 235 from COVID-19

Link: https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/drug-overdose-data-report-San-Francisco-fentanyl-15873680.php

Excerpt:

A record 699 people died of overdoses from January through December in 2020, according to a new report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. This number may seem surprising amid the global COVID-19 pandemic when San Francisco has shuttered schools and businesses to prevent deaths. In S.F., 235 people passed away from complications of the coronavirus in 2020.

Author(s): Amy Graff

Publication Date: 15 January 2021

Publication Site: SFGate