CDC report shows record high 12-month drug overdose death toll

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 3:52 AM EDT
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(CNN) - New information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a record number of Americans died from drug overdoses in a 12-month period.

During the pandemic, more than 96,000 drug overdose deaths were reported from March 2020 to March 2021.

”Each person who has lost their life during this time period has left behind a family and a community who misses them,” said Dr. Trent Hall, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center addiction medicine specialist.

It is an increase of nearly 30% more deaths than the year before.

Vermont had the largest increase in overdose deaths of any state. Reported overdose deaths rose more than 85% in that time period.

”These tragic statistics really speak to the despair many Americans are feeling throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hall said.

The CDC said opioids accounted for the highest number of overdose deaths followed by synthetic opioids, excluding methadone.

Hall’s research on the overdose crisis in Ohio was published in Jama Network Open last year.

He said the increase in the synthetic opioid fentanyl is highly concerning.

”Fentanyl is coming to contaminate local drug supplies in new areas, and that’s pretty scary,” he said.

Hall said that there is hope. Treatment and being well-prepared can help.

”Carry a naloxone rescue kit ... we can all carry around, and in the event somebody who’s experiencing an overdose, you can save a life,” he said.

Three states saw their number of overdose deaths decline: New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota.

South Dakota’s reported overdose deaths declined by more than 16%, the highest of any state.

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