Fatal overdoses hit record high in 2019, CDC data shows

Fatal drug overdoses hit a record high last year after decreasing for the first time in three decades in 2018, according to preliminary data from the CDC.

The agency recorded 70,980 overdose deaths in 2019, up from 67,367 deaths in 2018. The 2019 tally also surpassed the nation's previous peak in 2017, when the CDC reported 70,699 deaths.

Thirty-seven states saw fatal overdoses increase or remain stable from 2018. South Dakota reported the largest jump in deaths, up 54 percent from the year prior. 

"It seems that 2019 is the new high for drug overdose deaths," Bob Anderson, PhD, chief of mortality statistics at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told Politico. "Data are still provisional at this point, but the increase in the last few months of 2019 was steep enough to push it over the top by a little more than two hundred deaths."

White House officials and health experts told Politico this trend is ongoing in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Americans' mental health. 

To view the data, click here.

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