Drug overdose deaths are higher than ever, Elizabeth Tracey reports


100,000. That’s the official word on how many deaths due to drug overdoses have taken place in the US in the last year, with a new analysis in the Lancet projecting over a million overdose deaths in North America if current trends continue by 2029. Eric Strain, a substance abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, says it’s not just opioids.

Strain: I think that we’ve become somewhat distracted with Covid, understandably, and lost track of opiate overdoses, which have continued at a torrential rate despite Covid. The Lancet article also highlights to me something that I don’t think we’re really seeing, which is a significant methamphetamine problem. And that’s something I think as well that we need to be cognizant of, because the indicators are that the methamphetamine wave continues to push eastward over time.  :30

Strain says any intervention must start with recognition, so keeping tabs on which drugs are gaining traction is crucial. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.