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Ann Epidemiol ; 2022 Nov 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2232332


BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, social and economic disruption such as social isolation, job and income losses, and increased psychological distress, may have contributed to the increase in drug-overdose mortality. This study aims to measure the impact of the pandemic on monthly trends in drug-overdose mortality in the United States. METHODS: We used the 2018-2020 final and 2021 provisional monthly deaths from the National Vital Statistics System and monthly population estimates from the Census Bureau to compute monthly mortality rates by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. We use log-linear regression models to estimate monthly percent increases in mortality rates from January 2018 through November 2021. RESULTS: The age-adjusted drug-overdose mortality rate among individuals aged ≥15 years increased by 30% between 2019 (70,459 deaths) and 2020 (91,536 deaths). During January 2018-November 2021, the monthly drug-overdose mortality rate increased by 2.05% per month for Blacks, 2.25% for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 1.96% for Hispanics, 1.33% for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 0.96% for non-Hispanic Whites. Average monthly increases in mortality were most marked among those aged 15-24 and 35-44 years. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on the rising trends in drug-overdose mortality during the peak months in 2020 and 2021.