Drug overdose deaths increased 10% during the first three months of this year, preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates.
The CDC estimates that if this trend continues, there will be more than 75,500 drug-related deaths in the United States this year, NPR reports. The largest percentage increase in overdose deaths occurred in rural South Dakota, which saw a 50% rise. Both Florida and California saw increases of 20%.
Drug-related deaths are occurring as the pandemic curbs the ability of many addiction treatment programs to provide services, the article notes.
The pandemic is not entirely to blame for the increase in deaths, NPR notes. The rapid spread of fentanyl also has played a role. The drug can be deadly when it is laced with other illegal street drugs.