US drug overdose deaths set new record – as fentanyl deaths surge


Don Emmert/AFP

Annual drug overdose deaths have reached another record high in the United States as deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surge to unprecedented levels.

An estimated 105,752 people died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending October 2021, according to provisional data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

About two-thirds of those deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a stronger and faster-acting drug than natural opiates.

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have had a rapid and dramatic rise; overdose deaths involving these drugs have nearly doubled over the past two years, from about 35,000 deaths in the 12-month period ending October 2019 to more than 69,000 in October 2021.

Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids have had a rapid and dramatic rise; overdose deaths involving these drugs have nearly doubled over the past two years, from about 35,000 deaths in the 12-month period ending October 2019 to more than 69,000 in October 2021.

“Fentanyl, even at very, very small quantities, is lethal for most people,” said Katherine Keyes, an associate professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health whose research focuses on psychiatric and substance use epidemiology. “It’s just an incredibly potent opioid.”

The CDC first reported overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 annually in data through April 2021. We’re now in the seventh month in a row out of the last 12 that estimates have surpassed this level.

4 thoughts on “US drug overdose deaths set new record – as fentanyl deaths surge

  1. Pusherman says:

    “Cops Still Don’t Understand How Fentanyl Works : Police departments keep posting misleading information about the drug on social media—and spending money on expensive and useless equipment.” https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjb945/cops-still-dont-understand-how-fentanyl-works
    “Synthetic Drugs Displace Marijuana” http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2022/04/synthetic-drugs-displace-marijuana.html
    “Counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl can be deadly. A lethal dose of fentanyl is about two milligrams, equivalent in size to a few grains of salt.” (DEA) https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2021-05/Counterfeit%20Pills%20fact%20SHEET-5-13-21-FINAL.pdf
    “Harm Reduction: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)

  2. Copper says:

    (Sept 16, 2022): The national director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is calling a recent drug bust in Albuquerque the “largest” in the Bureau’s history. In a September 1 search of multiple locations around the city, law enforcement say they recovered more than 1 million fentanyl pills. https://www.krqe.com/news/crime/fbi-recent-albuquerque-fentanyl-bust-was-largest-ever/
    The drug bust was the latest step in “Operation Atonement,” an FBI operation aimed at dismantling the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico (SNM) prison gang. Since Operation Atonement began seven years ago, over 160 members and associates have been arrested, according to an FBI press release. And at least 12 gang-related homicides have resulted in federal murder charges. In the September 1 bust, the FBI partnered with local police and other federal agents to seize the large quantity of fentanyl.

    • p/s says:

      (New Mexico): Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Detective Patrick Ficke’s loss of credibility with the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has resulted in the dismissal of a federal drug case involving a half-pound of cocaine and about 36,000 fentanyl pills. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/federal-prosecutor-tosses-drug-case-over-santa-fe-county-detectives-involvement/article_9d979e62-3dde-11ed-9330-27a9b028e0cf.html
      District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies filed a complaint in July against Ficke with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy board, alleging misconduct and declaring her office would no longer rely on his testimony when prosecuting cases in the First Judicial District.
      The District Attorney’s Office dismissed about 30 cases in which Ficke was the case agent and essential witness, according to documents the office released in response to a public records request.
      Another 40 cases — and possibly more — will be evaluated and could be dismissed due to prosecutors’ inability to rely on Ficke as a witness, the District Attorney’s Office said.

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