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Drug overdose deaths are down in the United States for the first time since 2018

On the Front Lines of the U.S. Fentanyl Crisis


On the front lines of the US fentanyl crisis

04:24

Drug overdose deaths declined last year for the first time since 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The amount of medicine drug overdose death decreased by 3 percentage points between 2022 and 2023. More than 107,000 overdose deaths were recorded during the same period.

Surgeon General Dr. Deb Houry called the decline in overdose deaths “encouraging,” but the agency noted that the data is preliminary and subject to change. Preliminary data may underestimate the total number of overdose deaths, the agency says online.

Drug overdose deaths are attributed as such by the CDC after investigation into the cause of death. These investigations can be lengthy. Provisional data breaks down overdose deaths by the drugs involved. If a death involves two drugs, it is recorded in the death count for both drugs, so the death of a person who had both heroin and heroin. fentanyl in their system would be counted as both a heroin overdose death and a synthetic opioid other than methadonethis is how fentanyl is classified.

Opioid overdose deaths fell from 84,181 to 81,083 between 2022 and 2023, the CDC said, and there was a slight decline in fentanyl-related deaths. Overdose deaths semi-synthetic drugs such as morphine and codeine, increased from 12,135 to 10,171. However, deaths from psychostimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine increased from 63,991 to 66,169 during the same period.

A record number of Americans – nearly 108,000 people – have died drug overdoses in 2022, according to final federal figures published by the CDC in March. Houry said the decrease seen in the preliminary data “is a testament to the hard work of all of our partners in this effort and the work being done on the ground as part of a coordinated federal effort in prevention, services and reduction of risks”.

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