#Roommates, the COVID-19 pandemic saw the rise of many things, but perhaps the most deadly was the massive increase in fentanyl drug use, which has tragically reached new levels. According to new reports from health officials, 100,000 Americans passed away from drug overdose, specifically citing a 30% increase in fentanyl usage within a 12-month period during the height of the pandemic.
@NYTimes reports, the National Center for Health Statistics recently released its troubling findings regarding drug overdose during the pandemic. During the 12-month period that ended this April, it was revealed that over 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, which is up almost 30% from 2019. That also means that for the first time in American history, more people have died from drug overdose than gun violence and car crashes combined. The leading cause of new overdoses has been linked to the widely used fentanyl that is not only used as a standalone drug, but also used to lace other drugs.
Fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine, is often added to various other drugs to enhance their potency. Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, spoke about the latest findings. “These are numbers we have never seen before. This is a major challenge to our society. [Some] may not have wanted to take [fentanyl.] But that is what is being sold, and the risk of overdose is very high. Many people are dying without knowing what they are ingesting,” she said.
Additionally, drug overdose fatalities related to use of stimulants like methamphetamine, cocaine, and natural and semi-synthetic opioids (like prescription pain medication,) also increased throughout the last year. 70% of deaths occurred between men ages of 25 through 54, hitting white Americans the most.
As we previously reported back in September, in addition to being mixed into heroin, morphine, codeine and other opioids, fentanyl is also regularly showing up in marijuana and especially cocaine—which means that the death rate from overdoses can be directly traced to the drugs being laced with fentanyl.
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