Drug overdose deaths climb to record of over 100,000 in a single year
Overdose deaths topped 100,000 in a year for the first time in American history.
Health care workers say the new milestone is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Family and Children's Association president Jeff Reynolds says the reason for the deaths is the growing prevalence of fentanyl in the drug supply. He says the pandemic has also made people socially isolated and unable to get treatment.
"When the pandemic hit, a lot of those outreach programs in schools stopped treatment, became harder to get and folks who were on a good path were overtaken by anxiety, depression and hopelessness and uncertainty," Reynolds says. "And all of that fuels drug use."
Experts say deadly overdoses are preventable by learning how to use Narcan and reaching out to different foundations.
Thomas' Hope Foundation helps serve the loved ones connected with a person who is struggling.
Linda Ventura helped create the group after her son Thomas died of a drug overdose in 2012 when he was 21 years old.
She now helps others who are going through what she went through and believes more needs to be done to prevent other overdose deaths.
"We should be, as a country, totally outraged by this," Ventura says.
Drug overdoses now surpass deaths from car crashes, guns and flu and pneumonia in the country.