CDC Finds Drug Overdose Deaths Increased 30%

July 20, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
CDC Finds Drug Overdose Deaths Increased 30%
A meth overdose alert from the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project. (April Dembosky/KQED/Kaiser Health News/TNS)

Drug overdose deaths increased 30% from 2019 to 2020, according to an analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on July 19. The agency noted that disparities exist among certain racial and ethnic minority populations.

According to the data, nearly 91,800 drug overdoses occurred in the U.S. in 2020.

The highest increases in drug overdoses were seen among Black populations at 44%, and Native American and Alaska Native populations at 39%.

The data that deaths disproportionately impacted Black and NA/AN populations is one of five findings in the report that highlights critical information on health disparities and inequities related to U.S. drug overdose deaths.



The other four findings show a rise in overdose rates with increased county-level income inequality; that evidence of previous substance use treatment was lowest among Black decedents; that overdose rates were higher in counties with more potential substance use treatment capacity; and that evidence of naloxone — a medicine for reversing opioid overdose — administration was highest among NA/AN decedents and low in all other groups. 

The CDC recommends that prevention and substance use disorder treatment be scaled up in areas with higher economic inequities, and that culturally specific awareness campaigns and employment opportunities be established.


There should also be focus paid to factors such as how housing instability, transportation access and insurance status can create barriers to accessing care. 

Alexa can be reached at [email protected]

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