While the United States was mired in the coronavirus pandemic, another public health crisis continued to quietly undermine the nation. The opioid epidemic in the United States is already the deadliest that has ever existed, according to data published this Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS for its acronym in English) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. of the United States (CDC). The information is provisional, but it is an important indicator of the final report that will be released in December.
Between April 2020 and the same month in 2021, more than 100,000 people died from overdoses. The data represents a dramatic record, since overdose deaths increased by 28.5% compared to the same period between 2019-2020. For years, the heroin and opiate epidemic was brewing in silence, far from the political and media spotlight of Washington. Now it is a priority of the White House. “As we continue to make progress to defeat the covid-19 pandemic, we cannot put aside this epidemic that has affected so many families and communities in our country,” said President Joe Biden through a statement. “We are dedicating resources to increasing prevention programs, treatments and supporting people in their recovery, while reducing the supply of dangerous substances in our communities,” added the president.
Opioids continue to be the leading cause of death from drug overdose. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, were responsible for nearly two-thirds (64%) of all drug overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending April 2021, up 49% from the previous year, always according to the NCHS.
The novelty of this epidemic is the change in the profile of the addict. In the seventies, the addict was black, associated with violence and the response of the public powers was a strong hand, with arrests and imprisonment. The addict of this historical crisis is different, the vast majority of consumers are white. Vermont saw the largest increase in overdose deaths. The population of that state on the North American East Coast is more than 94% white and only 1.4% black.
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