Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Drug overdoses continue to rise nationwide

 Even as the state races to vaccinate thousands of Pennsylvanians against COVID-19, public health officials are still waging an ongoing fight against substance abuse, reported the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Preliminary data compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 88,295 people nationwide died from a drug overdose between August 2019 and August 2020, a 27 percent increase from the previous year, NBC News-Montana reported. Opioids and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, were responsible for most of the fatalities, according to NBC News.

In Pennsylvania, the number of reported deaths increased by 17.1 percent during that August to August timeframe, from 4,277 in 2019 to 5,008 in 2020, the CDC data showed.

To help combat that wave of abuse, the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Services has announced that it will award $2.7 million in grants to what are known as "recover community groups" that help people who are in recovery from substance use disorder.

Such groups are "non-profit organizations led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. These organizations are comprised of staff and volunteers from the recovery community," DDAP spokesperson Alison Gantz told the Capital-Star in an email. The RASE Project in Harrisburg is an example of such a group. 

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