NSC Statement on New CDC Vital Signs Report

Proven interventions are needed as overdose deaths spike in first half of 2019.

September 08, 2020

Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council is alarmed by the new data from the CDC indicating that 80% of drug overdoses between January 2019 and June 2019 involved one or more opioids, with three in four deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl. After dropping in 2018, drug overdose deaths spiked again in 2019, and the pandemic has worsened the outlook for 2020. The U.S. needs to start doubling down on prevention efforts, because this new report only underscores why proven interventions are sorely needed. Opioid overdose is the leading cause of preventable death, and we need to begin acting as if we can do something about it – because we can.

We are in the midst of a presidential election cycle that is happening against the backdrop of a pandemic. While attention is rightly focused on saving people from COVID-19, we cannot forget the nearly 60,000 lives we lose each year from preventable overdose. This year, many of these fatal overdoses will be directly linked to the pandemic, which has exacerbated mental health and addiction issues across the country. NSC created a National Plan to Address Opioid Misuse that both candidates can use as a guide to effectively tackle opioid overdose. The plan includes an entire section on how to implement proven prevention actions. We cannot simply hope that both presidential candidates will prioritize ending opioid overdose deaths – we should expect them to work to do so. NSC is committed to collaborating with both campaigns to ensure they take effective actions, because lives depend on it.

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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