U.S. drug overdose deaths hit record high during first year of pandemic

A record number of Americans died from drug overdoses in the first year of the pandemic.

From May 2020 to April of this year, the United States marked 100,000 overdose deaths. 

Health experts believe two major factors contributed to the increase – COVID-19 restrictions left many drug users socially isolated and unable to get treatment or support and the powerful opioid fentanyl is much more prevalent in illegal drugs.

A local recovery center said it’s being added to street drugs like heroin and other opioids like oxycontin.

"Most substance use disorder users don’t know that they’re taking fentanyl or that fentanyl is mixed in with what they’re purchasing," said Heather Ormand, the CEO of Nexus Recovery Center. "These overdoses are not people looking for a way out. They simply don’t know what they’re taking and it’s really, really dangerous."

It’s estimated drug overdose is now the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., ahead of car crashes, guns and the flu.


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