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Drug Overdose Deaths Up During Pandemic

Mortality from all types of drug overdoses increased by a whopping 30 percent over a one-year period, Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), reported at the FDA’s Science Forum last week.

Data from the National Center for Health Statistics from October 2019 to October 2020 has shown that mortality from overdoses from all types of drugs increased 30 percent, from 70,669 deaths in October 2019 to 91,862 deaths in October 2020. “I think that number is very, very chilling,” Volkow said at the forum.

Among those overdose deaths in both years, more than half came from synthetic opiates — “the most notable presence is fentanyl,” she said. There was also a 46 percent increase in overdose deaths from other psychostimulants, mainly methamphetamine, and a 38 percent increase in deaths from cocaine overdoses.