Record number of deaths in US from drug overdose during pandemic

In the United States, a record number of over 93,000 people died of drug overdose last year. This is mainly due to the increasing use during the coronapandemic of addictive heavy painkillers, notably the opioid fentanyl.

The number of deaths rose by nearly 30 percent compared to 2019, according to preliminary figures from Health Service CDC. Nearly 70,000 Americans died of opioid overdose, almost 20,000 more than a year earlier. In cocaine and amphetamine deaths, fentanyl was often involved.

The pandemic and lockdowns caused many stresses, financial problems, social isolation, boredom and school drop-off, which were often grabbed for drugs. Treatment was less likely to be available and many rehab programs were shut down.

Since 1999, more than half a million Americans have died from an overdose of heavy painkillers, whether or not prescription. Pharmaceutical companies have been sued because they would have stimulated the unnecessary prescription of opioids. Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and heroin.