Officials say the number of deaths due to drug overdose in the United States exceeds 100,000 in one year

It is estimated that 100,000 Americans will die from a drug overdose within a year. This is an unprecedented milestone, and health officials say it is related to the COVID-19 pandemic and more dangerous drug supplies.

The number of overdose deaths has been on the rise for more than 20 years and has accelerated in the past two years. According to new data released on Wednesday, it has increased by nearly 30% in the most recent year.

President Joe Biden called it “a tragic milestone” in a statement because government officials urged Congress to invest billions of dollars to solve the problem.

“This is unacceptable, it requires an unprecedented response,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of national drug control policy.

Experts believe that the main cause of death from drug overdose is the increasing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the supply of illegal drugs and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has isolated many drug users from society and cannot obtain treatment or other support.

Catherine Keys, an expert on drug abuse at Columbia University, said this number is “destructive.” “This is the number of overdose deaths we have never seen in this country.”

Drug overdose has now exceeded the death toll caused by car accidents, guns, and even flu and pneumonia. The total number is close to diabetes, the 7th cause of death in the country.

Based on the latest death certificate data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that from May 2020 to April 2021, 100,300 Americans died from overdose. This is not official statistics. Death investigations involving drug deaths can take several months to complete, so the agency has made an estimate based on 98,000 reports received so far.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously reported that about 93,000 people died from overdose in 2020, the highest number ever recorded. Robert Anderson, director of mortality statistics at the CDC, said that the death rate in 2021 may exceed 100,000.

“2021 will be terrible,” agreed with Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a drug policy expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

New data shows that many deaths involve illegal fentanyl, a highly lethal opioid drug that surpassed heroin as the drug that caused the most overdose deaths five years ago. Distributors mix fentanyl with other drugs-this is one reason why deaths from methamphetamine and cocaine are also on the rise.

US Drug Enforcement Administration Director Anne Milgram said that Mexican drug cartels are using chemicals from China to produce and distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine on a large scale in the United States.

Milgram said that this year, DEA seized 12,000 pounds of fentanyl, a record high. But public health experts and even the police say that law enforcement measures will not stop the epidemic, and more needs to be done to curb demand and prevent deaths.

The CDC has not yet calculated the race and ethnic classification of overdose victims.

Compared with the same period last year, the estimated death toll in four states except Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota has increased. The states with the largest increases were Vermont (70%), West Virginia (62%) and Kentucky (55%).

Minnesota increased by approximately 39%, and the estimated number of overdose deaths rose from 858 in the previous 12 months to 1,188 from May 2020 to April 2021.

Police Lieutenant Jeff Wersal, who leads the regional drug task force, stated that the number of deaths from drug overdose in the area around Mankato City increased from 2 in 2019 to 6 last year, and has increased so far this year. To 16 onwards.

“To be honest, I don’t think the situation will get better, it won’t be soon,” he said.

Among the victims this year was Travis Gustavson, who died in Mankato in February at the age of 21. Wersal said his blood was found to contain signs of fentanyl, heroin, marijuana and the sedative Xanax.

His grandmother Nancy Sack said that Gustafson was close to his mother, two brothers and other family members.

She said that he is known for his relaxed smile. “He might cry when he was young, but if someone smiled at him, he would immediately stop crying and smile back,” she recalled.

Sack said that Gustafson tried drug use for the first time as a child and received drug treatment as a teenager. She said that he struggled with anxiety and depression, but mainly used marijuana and different kinds of pills.

Sack said that on the morning of his death, Travis pulled a tooth, but because of his drug history, he was not prescribed a strong painkiller. He told his mother that he would stay at home and use ibuprofen to relieve the pain. She said that he was looking forward to his girlfriend watching the movie that night.

But according to the police, Gustafson contacted Max Leo Miller, also 21, who provided him with a bag containing heroin and fentanyl.

Some details of what happened are controversial, but all accounts indicate that Gustafson is not familiar with heroin and fentanyl.

The police said Gustafson and Miller exchanged information on social media. Once, Gustafson posted a photo of a row of white substances on a brown table, asked if he had taken the correct amount, and then wrote “or greater?”

According to the police report, Miller replied: “Little brother” and “Please be careful!”

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