EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The number of deaths due to drug overdose has hit an all-time high nationwide, reaching more than 100,000 deaths within a year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the time period between May 2020 and April this year saw the most overdose-related deaths ever recorded in a single year.
This year’s numbers are up from 30% from the 78,000 overdose-related deaths recorded from the prior year.
This year’s numbers are also nearly triple the number of traffic deaths and twice the amount of people killed by guns during the same time period.
Most overdose-related deaths are due to opioids, fueled by fentanyl, a drug that is 50 times more powerful than heroin, according to the CDC.
Fentanyl is being used to make fake prescriptions, according to Carlos Briano with the El Paso Drug Enforcement Administration. Two out of every five fake pills have a lethal dose of fentanyl, Briano said.
Nationwide shutdowns due to the pandemic are believed to have accelerated drug addiction as people began to face more financial difficulties, mass unemployment, and isolation, experts said.