Drug overdose surges amid COVID lockdowns; more deaths in one year than ever before

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses during the 12 months following the COVID-19 lockdowns, the most overdose deaths ever recorded in a one-year span. 

U.S. Drug Epidemic Deadlier Than Ever

Provisional data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate that there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before.

Opioids, Fentanyl, Meth, Cocaine, etc.

The new data documents that estimated overdose deaths from opioids increased to 75,673 in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, up from 56,064 the year before. Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in the 12-month period ending in April 2021. Cocaine deaths also increased, as did deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication).

The provisional data presented in this visualization include: the reported and predicted (estimated) provisional counts of deaths due to drug overdose occurring nationally and in each jurisdiction; a U.S. map of the percentage changes in provisional drug overdose deaths for the current 12-month ending period compared with the 12-month period ending in the same month of the previous year, by jurisdiction; and the reported and predicted provisional counts of drug overdose deaths involving specific drugs or drug classes occurring nationally and in selected jurisdictions.

The reported and predicted provisional counts represent the numbers of deaths due to drug overdose occurring in the 12-month periods ending in the month indicated. These counts include all seasons of the year and are insensitive to variations by seasonality. Deaths are reported by the jurisdiction in which the death occurred.

The interactive web dashboard is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm.

Oklahoma Data

According to the CDC data visualization chart copied below from the CDC’s website, the reported provisional count of deaths due to drug overdose in Oklahoma occurring in the 12 months prior and leading up to April 2020 was 662. The number for next 12 months ending April 2021 was 786, culminating in a 18.7 percent increase. All states’ numbers were marked as “underreported due to incomplete data.”

cdc overdoese death data oklahoma