More than 96,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in the United States between March 2020 and March 2021, when the pandemic shut down normal daily routines, according to a new government report.
The number of drug overdose deaths jumped 29.6% from March 2020 to March 2021, CNN reports. Opioids accounted for the largest number of overdose deaths, followed by synthetic opioids (excluding methadone), according to the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC’s estimate for predicted overdose deaths, which takes into account delayed reporting, was more than 99,000 during the same period.
“It is important to remember that behind these devastating numbers are families, friends, and community members who are grieving the loss of loved ones,” Regina LaBelle, acting director of the Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement. “Today’s CDC data are also a reminder of how urgent it is for Congress to fully fund President Biden’s budget request to expand access to substance use prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services as well as to reduce the supply of drugs in communities across the country.”