Overdoses deaths rose by nearly 30% last year amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing opioid epidemic says the Centers for Disease Control. Their records indicate that more than 93,000 died from drug overdoses in 2020 compared to 72,151. They note that opioid deaths led the way with 69,710 of those deaths. The CDC attributed the rise to both the stresses of the last year and the increased difficulty in seeking treatment thanks to the pandemic.

These rises come even as major producers of opioids like Purdue Pharma who introduced Oxycontin have caught scrutiny and federal lawsuits for their role in the wide overuse of their drugs. Recently, the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma were forced into a $4.5 billion settlement with several states as they dismantle their company after several high profile cases against them.

Officials hope that lessons learned while fighting the spread of COVID-19 can help battle back these large increases in yearly drug overdoses. The thought is that a more national strategy along with stricter FDA guidance could help dramatically lower dangerous prescriptions of opioids and better police their misuse.