Drug overdose deaths slow, CDC reports

Health

(NewsNation) — The rate of drug overdose deaths has slightly decreased, according to new data released by the CDC.

From July 2021 to July 2022, the CDC estimated nearly 108,000 overdose deaths but there were just over 102,400 overdose deaths actually reported.

The White House said if those stats hold, it would be the ninth month in a row that the rate of increasing overdose deaths has slowed.

“To disrupt the commercial supply of drugs during the same period, from August 2021 through July 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized approximately 273,247 pounds of illicit drugs at our nation’s borders,” Dr. Rahul Gupta’s White House statement read.

The CDC says that one of the biggest factors is fentanyl. The number of overdose deaths connected to the synthetic opioid continues to rise at an alarming rate.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that 67% of overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and only 2 milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose.

NewsNation’s Xavier Walton spoke with a Florida police officer who survived a fentanyl exposure overdose after being revived three times with Narcan.

Officer Courtney Bannick with the Tavares Police Department said she’s dealing with fentanyl every week.

“It is a very, very big problem. Every week we are coming in contact with someone who overdosed without even knowing it was fentanyl. ‘Oh, I thought I was smoking meth.’ Well, it’s laced,” Bannick explained. “These drug dealers always have to stay one up. OK, so your body is building a tolerance, so I have to make it one above. So there’s now different types of fentanyl.”

The DEA released a decoded secret emoji drug menu that it says is a trend that kids are falling into. The DEA said it urges parents to become familiar with the coded messages to help them become more aware of how emojis can be used in conjunction with illegal drugs.

The DEA said it’s investigating 120 cases of fentanyl overdoses that involve purchases made on social media.

“Talk to your kids about these emojis and explain to the kids that unless they’re getting a pill from the doctor or the pharmacy, you know from a prescription, they should not be taking anything that’s purchased online or given to them by a friend or an associate because the illicit drug supply right now in America is very lethal,” retired DEA agent Derek Maltz told NewsNation.

Snapchat, a social media platform, provided a statement on the issue of social media platforms being used by drug dealers:

“We deploy advanced technology to detect and remove drug dealers from our platform, ban accounts, search terms and symbols.”

The platform also launched a public awareness campaign on the dangers of fentanyl back in October to help educate young people on the dangers of the illegal drug.

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