CDC Finally Shares How COVID-19 Affected Overdose Deaths

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control shared its estimate for the overdose death toll that occurred in 2020. This past year was full of unprecedented hardship, from lockdowns, massive unemployment, dangerous working conditions, and the existential threat of the virus. It’s no wonder that 2020 is also a year that unfortunately drove overdose deaths to all-time highs. The CDC’s estimate of overdose deaths is the largest number in years. It’s a figure that is due partly to the despair and strife caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, let’s dive deeper into how COVID-19 affected overdose deaths?

Damage Done By the Pandemic

The U.S. Government and the CDC shared this past week, that during 2020 overdose deaths, reached a staggering number of approximately 93,000. These deaths contained a hugely disproportionate number due to the ongoing opioid epidemic. This number is a huge jump from 2019’s overdose death number of 72,000, a previous record. The CDC used data collected from death certificates to calculate this shocking figure. In almost every state there was an increase in drug overdose deaths, the only two that did not face increases were South Dakota and New Hampshire, according to this CDC report. What’s most shocking about this number is that most deaths, over 60% were due to the opioid crisis and a terrifying new drug that has gained popularity in recent years. 

The Hidden Culprit

With drug overdoses rising to this staggering new number during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are searching for a cause as to why this year in particular caused such a high number of overdose deaths. Of course, many factors of the pandemic contributed to these numbers. From unemployment anxiety to lockdown stress, the pandemic offered many reasons for someone experiencing substance use disorder to increase their usage to dangerous levels.

However, it was one relatively new opioid in particular that caused the greatest increase in overdose deaths. The CDC estimates that the synthetic opioid Fentanyl is the cause of roughly 60% of drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2020. This distressing percentage is due to the fact that Fentanyl is highly addictive. It’s also over 100 times more potent than other opioids like morphine and heroin. What’s even more insidious about Fentanyl is that as a powder it can be mixed with non-opioid party drugs like cocaine and MDMA. These Fentanyl laced substances are a huge factor in this massive increase in deaths. People who are used to taking a certain amount of drugs are now taking that amount, only it is 100 times more potent with the inclusion of Fentanyl, causing slowed breathing and death. 

What Can Be Done?

With Fentanyl usage and opioid-related deaths on the rise, many can feel hopeless. This is especially true given these bleak numbers from the CDC. However, there are many things that can be done to stop Fentanyl from increasing these sky-high numbers of overdose deaths. Firstly, you must inform and spread information about Fentanyl and how commonly it is being mixed with other party drugs. Providing these warnings on social media and in everyday conversation could help save lives.

While informing others, you must also inform yourself on recognizing the telltale signs of addiction and overdose. Doing so can help to provide aid to someone who may be suffering from one of these. There are great resources on the CDC website and the National Institute on Drug Abuse for recognizing the signs of an overdose. Another lifesaving thing you can do is have access to Naloxone nasal spray. The spray helps to reverse the effects of an overdose. Make sure you know how to use it safely or call 911 and have it administered by a professional EMT. 

Lastly, if you or someone you know might be at risk of overdosing on opioids, please call Fritz Clinic today or fill out our contact form. Fritz Clinic is the top treatment center for opioid addiction and recovery. We have decades of experience using medication-assisted treatments to help cure those struggling with opioid dependency. Opioid dependency doesn’t have to be a death sentence, contact Fritz Clinic today and take the first step to heal.