During the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people who died from drug overdoses in the United States increased to record heights. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States details the dangerous spread of fentanyl.
Data on overdoses are often reported by the CDC according to more general drug classifications. For instance, fentanyl is placed in the same category as various other synthetic opioids, such as tramadol and nitazenes. However, for the report that was released on Wednesday, researchers examined the specific drugs that are listed on death certificates for people who passed away as a result of an overdose. This allowed them to highlight demographic differences.
In the year 2021, about 70,000 persons in the United States passed away as a result of drug overdoses that involved fentanyl. This is an approximately four-fold increase over the previous five years. According to the analysis, the powerful synthetic opioid would be involved in about two-thirds of all overdose deaths by the year 2021. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a single death certificate may list more than one medication, and fentanyl is frequently discovered in combination with other substances.
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The fentanyl that is mixed with xylazine has been labeled as “an emerging threat” in the United States by the administration of former President Joe Biden. Precise information regarding the substances that are involved in fatal overdoses is necessary, according to specialists, in order to evaluate the impacts of drug policy and to direct treatment programs.
“We need to know exactly what people are dying from so we know what services they need to stay alive,” said Caleb Banta-Green, a research professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute who was not involved in the new investigation. “We need to know exactly what people are dying from so we know what services they need to stay alive,” Banta-Green added.
According to what he said, one of the most important things is having a solid understanding of the various drug sources and routes of administration, such as the difference between legally prescribed tramadol and illegally obtained fentanyl. They are able to provide more information regarding who is using, as well as the relative potential for addiction and overdose.