A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that nearly 108,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, a record level that is up 15 percent from those counted in 2020, which was already 30 percent higher than pre-pandemic estimates in 2019, reports the Courthouse News Service.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement that a proposed $41 billion plan to tackle the overdose epidemic will expand access to high impact harm reduction tools like naloxone, quickly connect more people to treatment, and disrupting drug trafficking operations.
Meanwhile, Axios reports that drugs for treating opioid abuse aren’t reaching most high-risk patients, potentially widening gaps in care as overdose deaths hit record highs.
Nearly 53 percent of patients with opioid use disorder were not prescribed buprenorphine, which reduces the risk of future overdoses, according to a new analysis of insurance claims from about 180,000 people. More than 70 percent of opioid users who also misuse other substances, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, weren’t prescribed the drug.
In 2021, roughly 71,000 Americans overdosed on fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. The report also accounts for overdose deaths from cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs. Overdose deaths for cocaine and meth, respectively, went up by 23% and 34% from the previous year in 2021.
According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, America’s opioid epidemic has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic — which made it more difficult for drug addicts to get access to treatment during lockdowns.