US overdose deaths may be peaking, but experts are wary
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WANE on 11/16/2022 by Mike Stobbe
NEW YORK (AP) — Have U.S. drug overdose deaths stopped rising? Preliminary government data suggests they may have, but many experts are urging caution, noting that past plateaus didn’t last.
U.S. overdose death rates began steadily climbing in the 1990s driven by opioid painkillers, followed by waves of deaths led by other opioids like heroin and — most recently — illicit fentanyl. Last year, more than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses — the highest tally in U.S. history.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released provisional data on what happened through the first six months of this year. The news appears to be hopeful.
Provisional data indicates U.S. overdose deaths fell three months in a row. The CDC estimated there were about 107,600 overdose deaths for the 12-month period between July 2021 and June 2022. That’s 40 fewer than in the 2021 calendar year.