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Drug overdose deaths rise again in Virginia in 2021, with fentanyl the leading cause


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A report recently released by the Virginia Department of Health shows an overall increase in fatal drug overdoses in 2021.

The fourth quarter report shows 2,656 total overdose deaths in 2021, a 15% increase from 2020. Synthetic fentanyl was reported to have contributed to the most deaths, with 2,033 deaths recorded. Cocaine was found to be the second most common contributor to drug overdoses in Virginia in 2021, with 801 reported deaths compared to 650 reported in 2020.

The opioid crisis has come to the fore of the drug conversation under the Biden administration. The CDC reported a 28.5% increase in overall drug overdoses from 2020 to 2021. Opioid overdoses also saw an almost 26% increase from 2020 to 2021 nationwide, with 75,673 deaths per total opioid overdose reported in 2021, according to the CDC.

More recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) established May 10 as “National Fentanyl Awareness Day” in an effort to draw additional attention to fentanyl deaths in the United States.

FENTANYL AWARENESS GROUP CALLS ON BIDEN ADMIN TO TRACK POISONING, OVERDOSE DEATHS LIKE COVID-19 DEATHS

“Fentanyl is everywhere. From major metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison. We must seize every opportunity to spread the word to prevent the fentanyl-related overdoses that are making every dozens of American casualties,” said DEA Administrator Anne. Milgram in a statement.

The CDC reports a 28.5% increase in overall drug overdoses from 2020 to 2021.
(Stock)

GOP lawmakers have also pressured the Biden administration to address the fentanyl crisis, particularly on the southern border. About 100 Republican lawmakers previously sent President Biden a letter urging him to permanently label fentanyl-related drugs as Schedule 1 substances.

“Fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances are fueling the overdose epidemic, killing 64,178 Americans between May 2020 and April 2021 and accounting for 64% of total overdose deaths in the United States,” the letter states.

TEENAGE OVERDOSE DEATHS RISING

About 10,586 pounds of fentanyl were seized at the southern border in 2021, with US Customs and Border Patrol reporting a “substantial increase” in fentanyl seizures in January.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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