By Owen Dyer / BMJ

The United States’ opioid epidemic worsened significantly during the pandemic, with overdose deaths recorded in the 12 months leading up to April 2021 up 28.5% from the year before, show data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1

Health systems across the country reported 97 990 overdose deaths during that period. Accounting for reporting delays, the CDC estimated that the final figure will be 100 306 lives lost to overdoses, of which 75 673 were opioid overdoses.

Of these, 64 178 deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a drug which has flooded the country in recent years.