NATIONAL NEWS

US drug overdose deaths reach another record high as deaths from fentanyl surge

Mar 16, 2022, 3:59 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:17 pm
A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chemist checks confiscated powder containing fentanyl at th...
A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chemist checks confiscated powder containing fentanyl at the DEA Northeast Regional Laboratory on October 8, 2019 in New York. - According to US government data, about 32,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2018. That accounts for 46 percent of all fatal overdoses. Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for a range of conditions, has been central to the American opioid crisis which began in the late 1990s. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Annual drug overdose deaths have reached another record high in the United States as deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surge to unprecedented levels.

An estimated 105,752 people died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending October 2021, according to provisional data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

About two-thirds of those deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a stronger and faster-acting drug than natural opiates.

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have had a rapid and dramatic rise; overdose deaths involving these drugs have nearly doubled over the past two years, from about 35,000 deaths in the 12-month period ending October 2019 to more than 69,000 in October 2021.

“Fentanyl, even at very, very small quantities, is lethal for most people,” said Katherine Keyes, an associate professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health whose research focuses on psychiatric and substance use epidemiology. “It’s just an incredibly potent opioid.”

CDC data first indicated that overdose deaths from any drug surpassed 100,000 annually in data through April 2021. This is the seventh month in a row that estimates for the latest 12-month period have stayed above this level.

Overdose deaths were up in all but four states compared with a year earlier, the provisional CDC data shows. New Hampshire, Hawaii, Delaware and Wyoming each saw year-over-year declines.

But it’s easy for the 54 fewer lives lost in these four states to be overshadowed by the much larger loss nationwide. The latest data shows that about 15,000 more people died of drug overdoses in the US than in the previous year, a 16% increase.

Along with synthetic opioids, the new federal data shows that overdose deaths from methamphetamine and other psychostimulants increased significantly, up nearly 40% from the year before. They accounted for about 30% of all overdose deaths in the latest 12-month period.

These stimulants are often seen in overdoses in which multiple drugs are involved, Keyes said — sometimes intentionally but other times when adulterated with fentanyl, for example.

Addressing these harrowing trends involves “big, systems-level issues,” said Caleb Banta-Green, principal research scientist at the University of Washington’s Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute.

“Reconceptualizing opioid-use disorder as an urgent health emergency is necessary,” he wrote in an email to CNN. As the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic linger, “mentally and financially depressed people are at increased risk for harms associated with opioids, so addressing wellness, poverty and housing are essential to health overall, including opioid-use disorder.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 03:  Actors Brad Pitt (L) and Angelina Jolie arrive at the premiere of...
ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment Writer

Angelina Jolie details Brad Pitt abuse allegations in court filing

A court filing Tuesday from Angelina Jolie alleges that on a 2016 flight, Brad Pitt grabbed her by the head and shook her then choked one of their children and struck another when they tried to defend her.
12 hours ago
surveillance image of possible shooter...
Associated Press

Police say California serial killer ‘on a mission’ in slayings

A California serial killer seems to be "on a mission" throughout the fatal shooting of six men and the wounding of one woman dating back to last year.
12 hours ago
...
Andrew Adams

Relatives scramble to relocate Florida woman to Utah after she lost everything to Ian

Family members were scrambling Tuesday to get a relative in Florida safely to Utah after she lost everything to Hurricane Ian.
12 hours ago
FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...
David McHugh, AP Business Writer

OPEC+ makes big oil cut to boost prices; pump costs may rise

OPEC+ alliance makes big cut to world oil production to boost sagging prices, which could mean rising costs at the pump
12 hours ago
FILE: Photos of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins are displayed before a vigil held to honor her at A...
Chloe Melas, CNN

Alec Baldwin reaches settlement with Halyna Hutchins’ family

The family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer killed on the "Rust" movie set in 2021, and Alec Baldwin have reached a settlement.
12 hours ago
It may take months before some residents get their power restored after Hurricane Ian. (KSL TV)...
Mike Anderson

Homeowners in Florida face unsure future after Ian

The town of Fort Meyers Beach in Florida is unrecognizable after Hurricane Ian tore through the area. It’s now considered to be one of the 25 worst hurricanes to ever hit the US.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
US drug overdose deaths reach another record high as deaths from fentanyl surge