AUSTIN (KXAN) — Data from 2020 shows the highest number of substance misuse deaths ever recorded for a single year, according to the nonprofit group Trust for America’s Health.
The yearly report titled Pain in the Nation found the U.S. experienced its highest-ever combined rates of deaths due to alcohol, drugs and suicide during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Texas saw a 150% increase in deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” said Brandon Reavis with the organization behind the report.
Reavis said the report is a wakeup call for local leaders to address the crisis.
“It makes it important for leaders there in Travis County to have tools like naloxone to help overdose reversals,” said Reavis.
The nonprofit group also supports fentanyl testing strips.
“I think that when you are facing almost 100,000 deaths in drug overdoses in the United States, almost every option needs to be on the table at least for discussion, and I think the federal government is willing to get involved,” Reavis said.
Other key findings from the report
The increase was largely driven by deaths from synthetic opioids, cocaine and psychostimulants. Synthetic opioid overdoses increased 56%, cocaine overdoses increased 23% and other psychostimulants overdoses increased by 48% from 2019 to 2020.
Drug death rates in 2020 were highest among adults ages 35 to 54 (52.5 per 100,000), males (41.1 per 100,000), young adults ages 18 to 34 (38.4 per 100,000), Black people (35.4 per 100,000) and those living in the Northeast (34.0 per 100,000).