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Fatal drug overdoses—mostly due to opioids, including fentanyl, but also meth and cocaine—spiked 28.5% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To fight drug overdoses, HIV and hepatitis, the Biden administration is endorsing harm reduction, including syringe services.
The death rate spiked right after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
However, the overdose death rate resulting from synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl, rose between 2017 and 2018.
Researchers believe that lack of economic opportunity drives an increase in opioid use among local residents.
Opioid use disorder is fueling a rise in youth hepatitis C cases and a stabilization of a long decline in HIV among people who use drugs.
Experts are not certain what this latest trend signifies for the trajectory of the opioid use disorder epidemic, however.
An analysis of newly diagnosed youths in California found they had limited access to opioid-related harm reduction services.
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