New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that drug overdose deaths in the United States have once again soared to record levels, underscoring the grim reality of 2023 as another devastating year in the ongoing drug epidemic. The provisional data indicates 111,355 lives were lost due to drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending in April. This surpasses the previous record of 110,757 deaths in the 12-month period ending December 2022.
Synthetic opioids, notably fentanyl, were responsible for the majority (70%) of the deaths, with psychostimulants contributing to about a third and cocaine to approximately a quarter.
Despite the United States heading towards a record number of drug-related fatalities in 2023, the CDC reports that the rate of increase has slowed when compared to the steep surge during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.