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Drug overdose deaths up by nearly 30% in 2020, according to new CDC data

The U.S. drug overdose death toll climbed nearly 30% in 2020, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Source: “US drug overdose deaths climbed during early months of pandemic: CDC data,” The Hill, April 14).

The CDC data shows that more than 87,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period that started in October 2019 and ended in September 2020 — the most recent statistics, which were published on Wednesday. 

Overall, the preliminary data found a 29% increase in overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending in September 2020, when compared to the year period ending in September 2019.

The largest increases in drug overdose deaths occurred in the 12-month periods that ended in April and May 2020, months early in the pandemic when many states had some form of shutdown in place and more workers lost jobs.