Drug deaths in America, which fell for the first time in 25 years in 2018, rose to record numbers in 2019 and are continuing to climb, a resurgence that is being complicated and perhaps worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, according to preliminary data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — an increase of 5% from 2018.
It looks as if 2020 will be even worse. Drug deaths have risen an average of 13% so far this year over last year, according to mortality data from local and state governments collected by The New York Times, covering 40% of the U.S. population. If this trend continues for the rest of the year, it will be the sharpest increase in annual drug deaths since 2016.