The headline above the May 15 report in The Economist gets straight to the point: “Last year, more people in San Francisco died of overdoses than COVID-19.”
“While covid-19 rampaged across the country, America’s other epidemic has quietly boiled over. Provisional data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that just over 90,000 Americans died by drug overdose in the 12 months to October 2020, a 30% increase on the previous year. That is more than the number of people who were killed last year by car crashes (42,000) and guns (44,000) combined. Roughly 55,000 of those who overdosed died from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a 57% jump year-on-year.”
Dr. Christian Thurstone, director of behavioral health services at Denver Health, notes that while the COVID-19 pandemic may be partly to blame for the increases in drug-overdose deaths, it is also important to understand how changes in drug trafficking routes and drug packaging are producing more victims.
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