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CDC data shows drug overdose deaths have significantly increased nationwide since the beginning of the pandemic. The rise accounts for nearly twenty-thousand additional people who died because of an overdose in the last year.

Drug overdose deaths are up 31% in Alabama from 2019 to 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“So in 2019, there were 719 overdose deaths in 2020 that number was 944 that’s 225 additional people who died because of a drug overdose,” says QuoteWizard Senior Research Analyst, Nic VinZant.

The average increase across the nation is 27%.

“In Alabama, we’re seeing a bigger increase in the number of overdose-related deaths. It’s not in the top five or the top 10 but there’s not much separating Alabama from the top 10,” says VinZant.

Data analysts say this isn’t a new problem.

“People have been taking action to try and stem this tide for many years but even despite all of that we still saw a 31% increase this was a problem that everybody knew about and it got that much worse,” says VinZant.

The spike, likely attributed to the pandemic.

“This increase started almost as soon as the pandemic started is it much more difficult time and I do think that he overdosed the increase in overdose deaths reflects that much more difficult time and bob and going through people are really struggling,” says VinZant.

But it’s hard to track down the exact cause for the increase.

“We looked at the numbers there wasn’t something that specifically said this is happening because of this,” says VinZant.

Data analysts say when you break down the categories of drugs involved in fatal overdoses, opioids are responsible for about 70% of them and that trend has been consistent since 2015.