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Drug Overdose Deaths Increased with the Covid-19 Outbreak

The number of Drug Overdose deaths in the United States reached an all-time high as the country grappled with the Covid-19 outbreak. According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93,331 Americans died of a Drug Overdose in 2020, representing a roughly 30% rise over the previous year. However, Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that she is optimistic that the recent increase in Drug Overdose will be temporary.

Volkow said, “One of the reasons why I’m optimistic … is that one of the factors that contributed to that increase in drug use was the isolation, social distancing, and that does not allow you to provide Narcan, which reverses overdoses. That despair that people felt, hopefully, will start to be mitigated.”

According to Volkow, people will be able to reconstruct social support structures that existed before the Covid epidemic, and healthcare systems will emphasize treating opioid misuse disorder. In 2020, the United States saw the highest number of deaths from opioid overdoses, with fentanyl accounting for more than 60% of those deaths.

Shepard Smith, the show’s host, questioned Volkow why fentanyl played such a large part in Drug Overdose. It had something to do with potency and cost, according to Volkow. Fentanyl is a powerful opiate, 50 times more potent than heroin. Therefore lower doses are required to have the same effect. So it makes a lot of money for the criminal drug market, and it’s been used to contaminate other narcotics, making them much more fatal when you mix fentanyl with substances like methamphetamine or cocaine.

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