CDC: Rise in drug overdose deaths is slowing

Deaths are still increasing -- just not on a lower trajectory as before
Published: Oct. 12, 2023 at 7:36 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Overdose deaths are still on the rise in the U.S., but the pace appears to be slowing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts the period from May 2022 to May 2023 saw 2,700 more overdose deaths than the previous 12-month period, which is a 2.5% increase.

Experts say despite the projected deaths still rising, the pace is lower than the jumps we saw during the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overdose deaths spiked 30% between 2019 and 2020 and rose another 15% between 2020 and 2021, according to the CDC.

There’s some sunshine in the CDC’s report: It projected May 2023 would see more than 112,000 deaths from a drug overdose, but the reported number of deaths is less than 107,000. Data is still coming in, and some deaths are still under investigation, but currently, that figure is 1,000 fewer than May 2022 -- and possibly the fewest overdose deaths since November 2021.

Wisconsinites are impacted by this, too. Overdose deaths have increased here since the pandemic, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services, but the CDC projects overdose deaths are down 8% when you compare May 2023 to May 2022.

Neighboring Illinois and Iowa are projected to see drops, too, while deaths in Michigan and Minnesota increased.

In response to the rising overdoses, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first over-the-counter version of naloxone, or Narcan, which is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. The nasal spray is now available in stores and online.