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Nearly 107,000 US overdose deaths last year

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Nearly 107,000 Americans died as a result of a drug overdose last year, an increase of nearly 16% over 2020, U.S. health leaders reported this week.

Meanwhile, life expectancy dipped to the lowest it’s been since 1996, according to final mortality data published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to final figures, 106,699 people died, up from 92,000 Americans who died from an overdose the year prior, the CDC reported.

Earlier provisional data suggested there were more than 107,000 overdose deaths last year. The numbers likely changed as additional death records came in, a CDC spokesman said. Also, provisional data includes all overdose deaths, while the final numbers are limited to U.S. residents, the spokesperson said.

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Workers unload a body from an ambulance for cremation at Gaobeidian Funeral Home in northern China's Hebei province, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. China only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its official COVID-19 death toll, a Chinese health official said, a narrow definition that limits the number of deaths being reported as the virus surges following the easing of pandemic-related restrictions.

The report used the most recent data from the National Vital Statistics System. Other key findings include:

  • In 2021, 106,699 drug overdose deaths occurred, resulting in an age-adjusted rate of 32.4 per 100,000 people in the United States.
  • Adults aged 65 and over had the largest percentage increase in rates from 2020 through 2021.
  • Drug overdose death rates increased for each race and Hispanic-origin group except non-Hispanic Asian people.
  • The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased 22%, while the rate of deaths involving heroin declined 32%.
  • From 2020 through 2021, the rate of drug overdose deaths increased for deaths involving cocaine and those involving psychostimulants with abuse potential.

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