The number of overdoses in the United States between April 2020 and April 2021 corresponds to an increase of 28.5% over the same period last year.
More than 100,000 Americans died of an overdose between April 2020 and April 2021 during the pandemic, in an unprecedented “crisis” linked to the illegal sale of fentanyl, an opioid with analgesic effects, according to health officials.
According to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released this Thursday, the United States recorded 100,306 overdose deaths in a year, corresponding to an increase of 28.5% over the same period. period of the previous year (78,056 deaths).
It is the first time that the country surpasses the symbolic barrier of 100,000 deaths, meaning one death every five minutes.
“As we move towards overcoming the covid-19 pandemic, we cannot ignore this epidemic of disappearances [overdose deaths], which has affected families and communities across the country,” said US President Joe Biden, quoted in communicated.
At a press conference, US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said “it is time to recognize that this [overdose] crisis is getting worse.”
“These overdoses are largely driven by synthetic opiates, most notably illegally manufactured fentanyl,” CDC’s Debra Houry told reporters.
Overdoses of methamphetamine, an equally addictive stimulant, or cocaine also increased.
“Drug dealers and [trafficking] networks are dousing our neighborhoods with fentanyl and methamphetamine in the form of fake pills,” warned Anne Milgram, head of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
According to Anne Milgram, Mexican cartels, when using chemicals from China, mislead consumers on the Internet, stating that they are approved and controlled drugs, when in reality they are very dangerous fake products.
The DEA has seized “more than 14 million fake pills this year, an amount that continues to rise dramatically each year,” she noted.
“We’ve found these deadly drugs in every US state,” added the DEA chief.
Joe Biden also recalled that his administration “is committed to doing everything in its power to fight [drug] addiction and end the overdose epidemic.”
The US government has announced that it wants to improve prevention as well as access to naloxone, a drug capable of preventing an overdose.
The Biden Administration will encourage states to ensure that naloxone is made available in prisons or educational establishments, for example, or that it is covered through health insurance.
“I believe that no one should die of an overdose simply because of lack of access to naloxone,” noted Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, acknowledging that “this is happening across the country right now, Unfortunately”.
The pandemic further accelerated overdose deaths — which were already on the rise in the past — largely due to the increasing isolation of some populations, according to experts.
Source: with Agencies