Opioids involved in soaring cocaine and meth overdose deaths, reveals CDC report

ATLANTA – A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is shedding light on a disturbing trend in drug-related deaths. Overdose deaths involving cocaine and psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, have been rising at an alarming rate, and opioids are playing a significant role in the majority of those fatalities.

According to the CDC’s findings for the year 2021, opioids were detected in nearly 80% of overdose deaths linked to cocaine and approximately 65% of fatalities involving psychostimulants, such as meth. Even more concerning is the sharp increase in multi-drug deaths over the past decade. Cases involving both psychostimulants and opioids have skyrocketed by an alarming 22-fold, while cocaine and opioid-related deaths have surged by more than seven times.

Regional disparities in these fatalities are also evident. The Northeastern region of the United States has witnessed the highest percentage of deaths involving cocaine and opioids, accounting for a staggering 84.5%, with psychostimulants and opioids contributing to 80.6% of fatalities. The West has experienced the lowest percentage of such deaths.

While the report doesn’t list the type of opioid involved in these deadly overdoses, fentanyl is playing a role in an increasing number of deaths. In a different CDC report, the agency revealed that deaths involving fentanyl more than tripled in five years,  from 5.7 per 100,000 standard population in 2016 to 21.6 in 2021. In 2019 alone, there was a 55% increase in fentanyl-related deaths.

Emily’s Hope founder, Angela Kennecke, personally knows the devastating impact of drugs laced with fentanyl. She lost her 21-year-old daughter to fentanyl poisoning. She has also talked with dozens of parents who have lost kids who thought they were taking Percocet, heroin, or another illicit drug, but it ended up being laced with a deadly dose of fentanyl. You can listen to many of those interviews on our podcast, Grieving Out Loud. Patty Stovall’s daughter thought she was taking cocaine, but it was laced with fentanyl and she died. You can listen to Patty on the podcast here.