Drug Overdoses Hit Record High in 2020

CDC Data Reveals Deaths Related to Drug Overdoses Increased by Nearly 30%


As reported by
CNN, a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that drug overdose deaths increased by 29.4% to over 93,000 in 2020. The previous year’s projected deaths from overdoses were approximately 72,151. Opioids were the most commonly used drug resulting in overdose, as has been the trend over the last several years.

Many of the experts interviewed in the CNN article agree that the pandemic was a significant factor in the devastating rise in overdose deaths. Shutdowns forced many people who may have already been struggling with drug addiction or dependency into isolation. Even without a looming health crisis, far too few people ever seek treatment for diagnosable substance use disorders.

Drug Overdose Statistics

According to the CDC, an estimated 841,000 people have died from drug overdoses from 1999-2019. Opioids were responsible for over 70% of drug overdose deaths in 2019. Of those, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl were the primary catalyst. 

Synthetic opioid and methamphetamine drug overdose death statistics:

  • Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased 67.9% in the West from 2018 to 2019.
  • Drug overdose deaths involving psychostimulants increased 43.8% in the Northeast.
  • Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (other than methadone) were over 11x higher in 2019 compared with 2013.
  • Opioids were involved in nearly 50,000 of the over 70,000 overdose deaths in 2019.

Getting Help

While the true impact of the country’s drug problem is still unknown, early data indicates that the pandemic took a deadly toll in more than one way. It is important for people to know that there are options for treatment. The drug patch is a non-invasive option that can be worn for up to 10 days. It tests for drug use continuously during that time period. The drug patch is an effective deterrent and can be used in conjunction with counseling or other addiction treatment.