The number of deaths from drug overdoses increased by 15% in 2021 and set another record, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said that it recorded nearly 108,000 deaths due to drug overdoses last year, breaking the record set in 2020.
The number of overdose deaths has been steadily climbing since the 1970s, increasing every year except in 2018.
“This is indeed a continuation of an awful trend. Rates of overdose deaths have been on an upward climb for decades now, increasing at unprecedented rates right before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, according to CNN.
Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl made up a large share of the deaths, accounting for 71,000, up from 58,000 in 2020. In addition, the number of deaths from stimulants increased to 33,000 from 25,000.
The CDC noted that the numbers are provisional and could go up as more records are reviewed.