The Opioid Crisis is Only Getting Worse

The American opioid crisis may be sidelined by COVID-19, but its death toll is higher than ever.
New preliminary data from the CDC shows overdose deaths snaking upwards over the past several years.
In the 12 month period ending September 2020, over 87,000 overdose deaths were reported in the US.

For comparison: In the 12 months ending January 2015, that number was 47,500+.

Brief respite: In 2018, deaths dropped slightly for the first time in decades,Axios reports.
Biggest spike: April and May 2020, when the height of pandemic lockdowns converged with job losses, social isolation, and closure of addiction treatment services.
More than ever, opioid deaths are linked to fentanyl or heroin being mixed with other drugs like cocaine—adding to the risk for stimulant drug users who aren’t tolerant of opioids, The New York Times reports.
Shifting demographics: While early on the opioid crisis was worst among white suburban or rural Americans, Black Americans are now seeing the greatest jump in opioid deaths, notes Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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