THURSDAY, Oct. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit a new record for the 12-month period ending March 2021, new government data show.

A record-high 96,779 drug overdose deaths occurred between March 2020 and March 2021, representing a 29.6 percent rise, new statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics showed. The numbers are provisional, and the CDC estimate for predicted deaths totals more than 99,000 from March 2020 to March 2021, CNN reported.

“It is important to remember that behind these devastating numbers are families, friends, and community members who are grieving the loss of loved ones,” Regina LaBelle, acting director of the Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement, CNN reported.

The state with the largest increase in overdose deaths (85.1 percent) during that time was Vermont. Opioids accounted for the highest number of overdose deaths, followed by synthetic opioids, excluding methadone, which was linked to the lowest number of overdose deaths.

Three states saw their number of overdose deaths decline from March 2020 to March 2021: New Hampshire, New Jersey, and South Dakota. South Dakota’s reported overdose deaths declined by 16.3 percent, the highest of any state.

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