American Overdose Deaths Surged To Record High Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns

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The number of reported drug overdose deaths across the U.S. hit a new record during the year of COVID-19 lockdowns, provisional data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed.

Over the period from March 2020 to March 2021, a total of 96,779 people died of drug overdose. This number represents a 29.6% increase from the year before, CNN reported.

The data released by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is provisional since recording drug overdose deaths requires “lengthy investigation.” When accounting for delayed reporting, this number may exceed 99,000, the CDC estimates, according to CNN. (RELATED: Hollywood Stars’ Overdoses Highlight Nationwide Spike In Fentanyl Deaths)

Opioids were at the top of the list of the drugs that caused the most overdose deaths during the period in question. They were followed by synthetic opioids excluding methadone, which led to the lowest number of fatal drug abuse cases, according to CNN.

“This has been an incredibly uncertain and stressful time for many people and we are seeing an increase in drug consumption, difficulty in accessing life-saving treatments for substance use disorders, and a tragic rise in overdose deaths,” Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Dr. Nora Volkow said, CNN reported.