US Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Record in 2020

More than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. last year, a record experts said was partly triggered by the isolation that many experienced during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.The government reported Wednesday that the 2020 total easily surpassed the previous record of about 72,000 deaths in 2019.“This is a staggering loss of human life,” Brandon Marshall, a Brown University public health researcher who tracks overdose trends, told The Associated Press. He said the United States was already faced with an overdose epidemic but that the pandemic “has greatly exacerbated the crisis.”Health experts said that while prescription painkillers once played a key role in U.S. drug overdose deaths, heroin and in recent years  fentanyl, a dangerously powerful opioid, proved exceptionally lethal.Fentanyl was developed to legitimately treat intense medical pain but now is sold illicitly and mixed with other drugs.The government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said its studies showed fentanyl was involved in more than 60% of the overdose deaths last year.Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.