On average, one person dies from an overdose every five minutes in the country. The United States counted some 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021, a 15% increase over the previous year and a grim new record, according to preliminary data released Wednesday, May 11 by 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). 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). Several drugs can be involved in a death.

A construction site for Joe Biden

The US opioid crisis has been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased the isolation of certain populations, according to several experts. The biggest increase in 2021 was seen in Alaska, where deaths increased by more than 75%.

Fentanyl, highly addictive and cheap to manufacture, is increasingly being mixed by traffickers with other drugs, according to the US drug enforcement agency, the DEA. It is also added to counterfeit pills for sale on the internet.

At the end of April, Joe Biden’s government announced an action plan to fight this crisis, focusing on two aspects: more care for dependent people, and the fight against drug trafficking.

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