One death by overdose every five minutes in the United States: the country records a sad record with 107,000 victims in 2021, up 15% compared to the previous year, thus signing a new dark record, according to preliminary data published Wednesday by US health authorities.

Of those deaths, more than 70,000 are linked to synthetic opiates like fentanyl, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fentanyl is the white powder that is increasingly mixed with heroin and cocaine by traffickers. Just as addictive, it can also be added to counterfeit painkillers for sale on the internet or to fake anxyolites: mixtures made in Mexico, with products from China, often fatal.

This is followed by stimulants such as methamphetamine (more than 30,000 deaths), cocaine (nearly 25,000), and natural or semi-synthetic opiates such as heroin (about 13,000).

More generally, the number of drug overdoses has increased every year since the 1970s in the United States, except in 2018. The country had, for the first time, exceeded the symbolic bar of 100,000 deaths by overdose over 12 months in April 2021. This crisis has been aggravated by the Covid-19 epidemic and forced isolation, especially in isolated states, such as Alaska, which records a 75% increase in 2021, the year in which overdoses will have killed as much as diabetes and Alzheimer’s diseaseaccording to this report Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At the end of April, the White House presented its drug strategy to reduce mortality, focusing on two aspects: more care for addicts, and the fight against drug trafficking. In particular, the US government wants to emphasize so-called “harm reduction” practices, such as the distribution of naloxone (an antidote capable of resuscitating a person in the process of overdosing), tests to verify the presence or absence of of fentanyl, or the programs of exchange of needles used by clean. Improving access to treatments such as methadone or buprenorphine is also highlighted.


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