Overdose deaths up 42% in 2020; largest increases among Blac
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Based on cases handled by emergency medical services, the number of people in the U.S. who died due to drug overdoses was 42% higher in 2020 than the average number of overdose deaths in 2018 and 2019.

Public health authorities had expected a sharp increase in overdoses during the pandemic because of the social isolation created by stay-at-home orders.

The researchers examined near-real-time data from about 90% of U.S. emergency medical service calls. The researchers write that the emergency medical service data they reviewed serves only as a proxy for an actual total number of overdose deaths, so a deeper look at the data will be needed when the final statistics for 2020 are available.

The largest increases were among Black Americans and Latinos. Spikes were also most pronounced in low-income neighborhoods (46.4%) and in the five states—Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington—that border the Pacific Ocean.

The study concludes that overdose prevention should be part of the U.S."s post-pandemic recovery efforts and that such efforts may be especially important for certain racial and ethnic minority communities.

JAMA Psychiatry
Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2780427
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