The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released figures on Thursday indicating that nearly 107,000 Americans died of overdoses last year. This is an increase of almost 16 percent compared to 2020, reports The Associated Press.
Overdose deaths fall under the category of "accidental deaths" which are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Accidental deaths were responsible for 3.4 million deaths in 2021, which is 80,000 more than the previous year. The increase in overdose deaths is directly coupled with the opioid epidemic as it continued to be worsened by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
Fentanyl was responsible for approximately two-thirds of overdose deaths, reports The Washington Post. Just this year, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than 379 million doses of fentanyl, enough to kill every person in America, the Post continues. Overdose deaths increased in every demographic over 25 years of age except for Asian men.
The CDC's figures also found that the U.S. life expectancy has once again dropped to 76 years and 5 months. This added to the pattern of decrease that the country has seen over the past two years.