CDC Data Show Unprecedented Number of Drug Overdose Deaths

We know what to do to save lives, but as a nation, we have not consistently prioritized eliminating these deaths.

December 18, 2020

Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council is grieving over new CDC data showing an unprecedented number of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. from June 2019 to May 2020 – in fact, the most ever for any recorded 12-month period. The data confirm that the pandemic has substantially worsened the country’s drug crisis, which claimed 81,230 lives over those 12 months. 

For years, the United States has accepted drug overdoses as a tragic but unavoidable reality. We know what to do to save lives, but as a nation, we have not consistently prioritized eliminating these deaths.

Earlier this year, in collaboration with over 60 organizations and companies, NSC released a comprehensive National Plan to Address Opioid Misuse. The recommendations in this plan take into account the many factors, systems and players that have a role in the lifecycle of addiction – from prevention to recovery, from education to the criminal justice system, from prescribers to employers. 

In January, a new administration will be sworn into office. We urge President-elect Biden to make the opioid crisis a priority by adopting the plan in full and detailing the following to the American people: 

  • How the administration’s pandemic response plan will address the consequences of increasing opioid use disorder (OUD) rates
  • How the administration will support employers as they work to prevent opioid misuse and support employees in treatment and recovery
  • How the administration will increase services to underserved and vulnerable populations who have increased risks of developing a substance use disorder and more difficulty accessing treatment and recovery support services

To view the National Plan to Address Opioid Misuse, visit nsc.org/presidentialplan

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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