January 26, 2021
Opioid Fatalities Increase Amidst COVID Pandemic
In Erie County, New York, 85 people died from overdoses during the first four months of 2020, a 100% increase from the same period last year. The increase in opioid fatalities is not an isolated incident; overdose deaths have been rising nationwide.
The New York Times has referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as a "national relapse trigger," resulting in an acceleration of overdose deaths during the pandemic.
Opioid Fatalities Increasing During Pandemic
The primary driver of the increases in overdose deaths appears to be synthetic opioids, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Overdose deaths increased 38.4% from the 12 months leading up to June 2019 compared with the 12 months leading up to May 2020.
37 of 38 U.S. jurisdictions reported increases in synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths.
18 of these jurisdictions reported fatality increases greater than 50%.
10 western states reported over a 98% increase in synthetic opioid-involved deaths.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid often mixed with heroin and/ or cocaine as a combination product -- with or without the user’s knowledge -- to increase its euphoric effects.
Overdose deaths involving cocaine also increased by 26.5%, likely linked ...