Drug overdose deaths top 100,000, but have fallen for the first time in five years

According to figures, overdose deaths in the US will decrease slightly in 2023 early data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first annual decline in drug overdose deaths since 2018.

But the total number of deaths is still extremely high. More than 107,000 people died from drug overdoses last year, a 3 percent decrease from the estimated 111,000 deaths in 2022.

In 2021, deaths exceeded 100,000 for the first time.

CDC Chief Medical Officer Deb Houry in a statement called the findings “encouraging” and a “testament to the hard work of all our partners in this effort and to the work being done on the ground.”

However, she noted that there is still work to be done, and the “progress over the past twelve months should prompt us to reinvigorate our efforts, knowing that our strategies are making a difference.”

The number of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl, decreased slightly in 2023, from 76,226 to 74,702. However, fatal overdoses of cocaine and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine were increasing, CDC found.

CDC noted that many fatal overdoses involve multiple street drugs, so the number of deaths attributed to specific substances is not “equal to the total number of overdose deaths.”

The report also found uneven progress among states. Several states saw declines, with Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana and Maine experiencing declines of 15 percent or more.

Still, some states such as Alaska, Washington and Oregon saw increases of at least 27 percent compared to the same period in 2022.

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