Wednesday, November 17, 2021
In the 12-month period that ended in April, more than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses, up almost 30 percent from the 78,000 deaths in the prior year, according to provisional figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The figure marks the first time the number of overdose deaths in the United States has exceeded 100,000 a year, more than the toll of car crashes and guns combined.
The rise in deaths -- the vast majority caused by synthetic opioids -- was fueled by widespread use of fentanyl, a fast-acting drug that is 100 times as powerful as morphine. Increasingly fentanyl is added surreptitiously to other illegally manufactured drugs to enhance their potency.
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