Fentanyl-related overdose deaths surge by 279% in five years

The rate of drug overdose deaths linked to fentanyl more than tripled in the United States over five years. The new CDC data from the Vital Statistics Rapid Release Program shows fentanyl deaths rose from 5.7 per 100,000 standard population in 2016 to 21.6 in 2021. The largest percentage increase was from 2020 to 2021 during the COVID lockdown, when fentanyl deaths jumped by around 24 percent.

Men were also more likely to suffer a deadly drug overdose than women. In fact, the rate of fentanyl and methamphetamine-related deaths among men were 2.6 times that of women.

Fentanyl was the drug with the highest overdose death rates among all age groups in 2021, but the rates were highest among those ages 35 to 44 at 43.5 per 100,000 and those ages 25 to 34 at 40.8.

This alarming trend has led lawmakers to propose new legislation that would make fentanyl trafficking a national emergency. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will hold a two-day public meeting next week to discuss the best strategies for initiating opioid addiction treatment.