U.S. drug overdose deaths jump over 28%, top 100,000 in the past year

FILE PHOTO: A man living on the streets displays what he says is the synthetic drug fentanyl, across the street from where San Francisco mayor London Breed just held a news conference introducing legislation in curbing the rise of deadly overdoses in the city, at the Tenderloin section of San Francisco, California, U.S., February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) – Over 100,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses during the 12-month period ending April 2021, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Wednesday.

That marks a 28.5% jump from the previous year, with deaths from opioids such as fentanyl, which can be 100 times more potent than morphine, and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine helping drive the increase, provisional data from the health agency showed.

“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,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement.

Data in July showed that last year’s drug overdoses jumped 30% as pandemic lockdowns made getting treatment difficult and dealers laced more drugs with a powerful synthetic opioid.

The new data showed that deaths from cocaine and prescription pain drugs also increased compared to data from the previous year.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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