Drug Overdose Deaths Drop For First Time Since 2018
Drug Overdose Deaths Drop For First Time Since 2018

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times,

The rate of death by overdose declined in 2023, marking the first decrease in five years. Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics show the decline mainly attributed to a drop in deaths from synthetic opioids, specifically fentanyl.

The number of drug overdoses in 2023 was predicted to be 107,543, down from 111,029 in 2022, indicating a 3 percent drop. Deaths from all types of opioids dropped by 3.7 percent.

The good news, unfortunately, stops there, as death rates from stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine rose. Deaths from cocaine overdose were up 5.2 percent, while the death rate for methamphetamine was up nearly 2 percent.

Some states saw decreases in overdose death rates. Indiana, Kansas, Maine, and Nebraska experienced declines of 15 percent or more. Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, however, experienced significant spikes in overdose deaths, with rates increasing by at least 27 percent.

However, drug overdose-death trends seem to be leveling off after a drastic spike from 2019 to 2020. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the overdose death rate increased 31 percent that year, marking the biggest spike since 2002. Drug overdoses remain one of the leading causes of injury death in adults, the CDC reports.

Narcan’s Wider Availability May Be Behind the Dip

The report gave no definitive reason for the slight decrease in drug overdose deaths. However, naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, has become more widely available and used. In 2023, Narcan became more available in public places, including schools and federal buildings, as part of the Biden administration’s National Drug Control Strategy.

“These lifesaving medications should be as readily available as fire extinguishers or defibrillators in all public spaces, from schools, to housing communities, to restaurants, retail, and other businesses,” Human Health Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release.

Additionally, test strips became available for people looking to test their drugs for fentanyl. Community clinics also operate programs to hand out sterile syringes to help reduce transmission of infections such as hepatitis C and HIV among those who inject drugs.

Despite the dip in death rates, drug overdose deaths remain at an all-time high, as does illicit drug use. Results of the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that 48.7 million Americans 12 or older struggled with drug addiction in the past year, including 29.5 million who were addicted to alcohol, 27.2 million who were addicted to drugs, and 8 million with an addiction to both.

“The National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides an annual snapshot of behavioral health nationwide,” Mr. Becerra said in an NSDUH press release. “This data informs knowledge, policy and action, and drives our shared commitment across government, healthcare, industry and community to offer resources and services to those in need.”

Drug Use, Mental Illness Go Hand in Hand

In 2022, 70.3 million Americans aged 12 and older admitted to using an illicit drug in the past year. The NSDUH also found that nearly one in four adults 18 and older had a mental illness within the past year and that just under 5 million adolescents experienced a major depressive episode.

Moreover, one in 20 adults had harbored serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, while 3.8 million had made a serious plan; another 1.8 million had attempted to end their lives. Adolescents were not immune to suicidal ideation. Over one in eight adolescents between 12 and 17 years old entertained suicidal thoughts, one in 15 made plans, and one in 25 attempted suicide.

“To tackle the behavioral health crisis in this nation, we need to fully understand the issues surrounding mental health and substance use, and the impact they have on people and communities,” Human Health Services Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm said in a press release.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 05/17/2024 – 23:00

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