CDC Releases Provisional Overdose Mortality Data During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released provisional data showing a 6.6% increase in provisional drug overdose mortality for the 12 months ending in January 2020; this is compared to an increase of 4.8% and 3.0% for the 12 months ending in December 2019 and November 2019, respectively. Deaths involving synthetic opioids, cocaine, and psychostimulants with abuse potential (including methamphetamine) continue to rise when compared to the previous year. Even as we pour time, treasure, and talent into addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still important work to do on the opioid crisis that has ravaged lives and communities across the county, especially now as we are also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic that could markedly affect our nation’s mental health and risk of substance use. This provisional data comes as the CDC also releases a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the U.S. from June 24-30, 2020. Communities have faced mental health challenges related to COVID-19–associated morbidity, mortality, and mitigation activities.