July 14, 2021 -- More Americans died from drug overdoses in 2020 than in any other year, the CDC said Wednesday.

Fatal overdoses rose by nearly 30% last year to a total of more than 93,000 deaths, according to provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The spikes are largely attributed to the rise in use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

The Washington Post reported that more than 69,000 overdose deaths involved opioids, up from 50,963 in 2019.

Amid the crush of overdoses, the White House announced that President Joe Biden has nominated Rahul Gupta, MD, to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Gupta is a former health commissioner of West Virginia, and he is chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes.

"Dr. Gupta led efforts in West Virginia to address the opioid crisis, gaining national prominence as a leader in tackling this issue," March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey Stewart said in a statement. "At March of Dimes, he has advocated for policies and programs to prevent and treat substance use, with a focus on the safety and care of pregnant women and infants."

HealthDay contributed to this report.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC.gov: “Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts.”

The Washington Post: “Drug overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year.”

HealthDay: “Dr. Rahul Gupta to Be Nominated as Next U.S. Drug Czar.”

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