US drug overdose deaths rose to record 93,000 last year

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U.S. drug overdose deaths hit a new record of more than 93,000 last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 93,331 overdose deaths in 2020, the data show, an almost 30 percent jump from 2019.

The increase comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased isolation and stretched and redirected health care resources to fight the virus.

Opioid overdoses made up the bulk of the deaths, at around 69,000. The synthetic opioid fentanyl has driven much of the crisis.

A bankruptcy plan for Purdue Pharma, a company at the center of the opioid crisis, has the potential to provide additional funds to combat the crisis.

Fifteen states last week agreed to a $4.5 billion settlement deal.

“No amount of money will ever make things right between affected families and Purdue and its owners, the Sacklers,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D) said then. “While this plan is far from perfect, allowing it to move forward now is the best way to ensure that billions of dollars in desperately-needed funding flows to the communities in North Carolina and across the country.”

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