The data collected in the 12 months starting in April 2020 showed a 28.5% increase compared with the previous year.
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
The agency reported a total of 100,306 predicted deaths in the 12-month period which is a 28.5% growth compared with the data dating back to April 2020, when 78,056 cases had been recorded over a similar period.
This is the first time in history when the US records more than 100,000 overdose-caused deaths in a year. The number exceeds that of car accident and gun shooting victims combined.
The number has doubled since May 2015 when the agency reported 49,937 predicted deaths.
The NCHS explains that the surge has been caused by the pandemic outbreak and aggravated by insufficient med accessibility. The other reason is the wider use of fentanyl - a fast-acting opioid added to other drugs to amplify their effect. According to estimations, it resulted in two-thirds of the total number of lethal cases.
The President’s administration has announced that the government will improve access to medications aimed at preventing overdose and encourage states to make it more available to US citizens.
“As we continue to make strides to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country. My administration is committed to doing everything in our power to address addiction and end the overdose epidemic,” Joe Biden said.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse adds that about 70% of deaths occurred among people aged 25 to 55.
As for the US states, the largest growth has been recorded in Vermont, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi, while in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and South Dakota the number has, on the contrary, dropped.