AR growing health crisis, overdose deaths rise during pandemic

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A new report shows that drug overdose deaths increased during the pandemic with opioids being a leading cause.

Content partner KARK said that according to a report released Monday by QuoteWizard, Arkansas drug deaths grew over 16% in the past year. The study used statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing Arkansas with 542 overdose deaths through April 2021, followed by 631 through April 2022.

Arkansas has shown improving Narcan access in the past few months to combat these deaths, but there is a long way to go.

Drug overdoses have been a growing health crisis nationwide, not just in Arkansas. West Virginia, Louisiana, and Tennessee have the highest rates of overdose deaths.

Nationwide statistics show 68,757 overdose deaths in 2019, 99,973 in 2020, and 103,664 in 2021.

QuoteWizard reports that opioids are the leading cause of overdose deaths, accounting for 34% of overdose deaths since 2015. That percentage jumps to 70% when factoring in synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and semi-synthetic and natural opioids.