Fentanyl Pushed U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths to Record High in 2021

Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit record highs in 2021, primarily due to an increase in synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a vast majority of which is trafficked from Mexico across the southwest U.S. border.

According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 108,000 people appear to have died of drug overdoses in 2021. That’s a nearly 15 percent increase in drug-related deaths compared to 2020.

Overdose deaths have been on the rise in the United States since the 1970s but spiked significantly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic during government-mandated lockdowns. Since 2019, drug overdose deaths, especially due to mixes created with powdery, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and stimulants such as methamphetamine, have spiked nearly 50 percent.

In 2020, approximately 58,000 deaths were recorded involving synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl. By 2021, that number rose to 71,000.

In South Texas ports of entry alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 588 pounds of fentanyl in the 2021 fiscal year, a 1,066 percent increase since FY2020. (Read more from “Fentanyl Pushed U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths to Record High in 2021” HERE)

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