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US overdose deaths hit record 107,000 last year, CDC says

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More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting another tragic record in the nation’s escalating overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated Wednesday.

The provisional 2021 total translates to roughly one U.S. overdose death every 5 minutes. It marked a 15% increase from the previous record, set the year before. The CDC reviews death certificates and then makes an estimate to account for delayed and incomplete reporting.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called the latest numbers “truly staggering.”

The White House issued a statement calling the accelerating pace of overdose deaths “unacceptable” and promoting its recently announced national drug control strategy. It calls for measures like connecting more people to treatment, disrupting drug trafficking and expanding access to the overdose-reversing medication naloxone.

Experts say the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem as lockdowns and other restrictions isolated those with drug addictions and made treatment harder to get.

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Source: AP News, 11 May 2022

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