Partnership to End Addiction’s response to CDC data showing accelerated overdose deaths during COVID-19

    “The CDC recently released data indicating that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly exacerbated the addiction epidemic in our country. There were 81,230 unintentional overdose deaths in the 12 months ending May 2020, making that time period the deadliest year on record in terms of overdose fatalities. These deaths included a 38.4% increase in synthetic opioid fatalities, 26.5% in cocaine overdose deaths and 34.8% increase in fatal overdoses due to psychostimulants such as methamphetamine.

    We are heartbroken for the families who have lost a loved one to overdose. The deadly combination of social isolation, financial anxiety and disruption to health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic has super-sized the mental health and substance use crises in our country. The congressional coronavirus relief bill includes an additional $4.5 billion for mental health and substance use services, funding which is desperately needed to help those who are struggling.

    Beyond this emergency funding, these staggering overdose numbers should be a call-to-action for policymakers that we need to take a bold public health approach to this epidemic, including doing a better job supporting families working to get help for a loved one. Years of research suggest that empowering families and loved ones is one of the best and most effective ways to improve substance use outcomes and save lives.”

    About Partnership to End Addiction

    Partnership to End Addiction is a national nonprofit uniquely positioned to reach, engage and help families impacted by addiction. With decades of experience in research, direct service, communications and partnership-building, we provide families with personalized support and resources — while mobilizing policymakers, researchers and health care professionals to better address addiction systemically on a national scale.

    By Marcia Lee Taylor
    December 2020