Amidst the fatal COVID-19 pandemic, America is dealing with its worst drug crisis. According to the data released by CDC, the US has recorded more than 87,000 deaths in the period of 12 months. In 2019, the record of deaths related to drugs stood at 71,000 in 2019.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Wednesday that the number of drug deaths has increased in 49 states, except for Dakota. According to the reports, the new record is the highest recorded in a year since 1999.
Brendan Saloner, an addiction researcher at Johns Hopkins University said, “It’s really bad! I see the curve getting steeper, but it’s also a continuity of what we’ve seen leading up to the pandemic year.”
Earlier in December 2020, CDC reported 81,000 deaths in a period of 12 months, ending in May. Dr. Robert Redfield, the then director of the CDC, stated at the time, “The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard,”
Brendan Saloner reacted to the data saying, “The data points corroborate something I believe, which is that people who were already using drugs started using in ways that were higher risk — especially using alone and from a less reliable supply,”
According to the sources and expertsI, the pandemic disrupted the drug routine of the people, due to which, they had to rely on different sources. The Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow states, “Dealers are lacing these non-opioid drugs with cheaper, yet potent, opioids to make a larger profit… Someone who’s addicted to a stimulant drug like cocaine or methamphetamine is not tolerant to opioids, which means they are going to be at high risk of overdose if they get a stimulant drug that’s laced with an opioid like fentanyl.”
Nonetheless, the US government already has The American Rescue Plan Act, which includes $1.5 billion for prevention and treatment of drug abuse, and $30 million as fund for local services for the benefit of the addicts. In addition, Dr. Vivek Murthy, Joe Biden’s new surgeon, has reportedly pledged responsibility. However, the President hasn’t yet appointed an official “drug czar”.