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CDC: Overdose deaths reached an all-time high during COVID-19 pandemic

The 2020 death toll estimate is up by about 20K, with fentanyl blamed for more than 60% of overdoses

naloxone narcan

Volunteers at a West Virginia health event in June pass out free doses of naloxone.

Photo/John Raby, AP

Nelson Oliveira
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Drug overdose deaths jumped nearly 30% last year to a record 93,000, a shocking increase reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s opioid crisis and the alarming spread of fentanyl across the country, the U.S. government reported Wednesday.

The 2020 death toll estimate is significantly higher than the previous record of 72,000 deaths registered just a year earlier. The synthetic opioid fentanyl was blamed for more than 60% of the overdose deaths last year, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

“This is a staggering loss of human life,” Brandon Marshall, a Brown University public health researcher who tracks overdose trends, told the Associated Press.

The agency’s provisional report is based on death certificates from every state. All but two states — New Hampshire and South Dakota — saw an increase in drug overdoses last year, the CDC report shows.

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