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Overdose deaths rise amid pandemic

It is estimated as many as 90,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2020.
(WCAX)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 7:56 AM EST
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(WILX) - The coronavirus pandemic is driving up the number of deaths from opioid overdoses, according to federal health officials Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates as many as 90,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2020.

Early data shows a 21% increase in overdose fatalities and HHS says that number is expected to grow.

In addition to the depression, isolation, and hopelessness blamed on the pandemic, new synthetic opioids are emerging with deadly consequences. Powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl are now estimated to account for nearly 45% of all overdoses.

The rate of opioid deaths had been falling until a new spike appeared starting in the fall of 2019.

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