The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it expects the death toll from drug overdoses to hit 75,500 by the end of 2020, according to alarming preliminary estimates from the public health institute.
Coverage of the opioid crisis has fallen to the wayside this year as the nation and the rest of the world contend with the largest pandemic in a century.
Before the novel coronavirus arrived on the scene, the opioid crisis was already deadly and far-reaching in scope. Most deadly is how the pandemic has exacerbated drug abuse.
Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, drug use has shot through the roof—both for opioids and drugs like cannabis. This is mostly because the millions of Americans who have been cooped up in their homes often feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, lonely, and bored—factors that increase a person’s likelihood of using drugs.
However, it is worth noting that “party drug” usage has fallen significantly this year, according to a more internationally focused July survey from The Economist, with “party drugs” here referring to ecstasy, cocaine, and ketamine. Cannabis, however, has seen the biggest uptick in usage, the same study found.
The CDC report published on Wednesday found that, in the first three months of this year, there were 19,416 drug-overdose deaths, a 10% spike from the same period in 2019, which saw 16,682 deaths. Between February and March alone, there was a 10,000-person death increase.
Demographically, the group most impacted was white males who fall between the ages of 25 and 64, which is not a significant change from pre-pandemic trends.
What drives home the true scale of this crisis, however, is that only 13 U.S. states have reported a decrease in overdose deaths this year so far, the report said.
These results are preliminary and more data is expected to be published about 2020, likely sometime after the start of 2021.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Parents, advocates call on leaders to step down after ZERO children pass math at 13 Baltimore state schools
How long will leaders who let our children down blame Covid-19 for their failures? Anger swept across Baltimore, Maryland, after not a single student passed their state math exams, and almost 75 percent testing at the lowest possible score.
The Daily Mail reports “The poor performances came in the latest round of Maryland‘s state testing, where 13 high schools in the city – a staggering 40 percent – failed to produce a single student with a ‘proficient’ score in math.” Baltimore City Schools not only received $1.6 billion last year from taxpayers, but the school district also received $799 million in Covid relief funding from the federal government.
“So, it’s not a funding issue. We’re getting plenty of funding,” said Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of Baltimore-based nonprofit People Empowered by the Struggle, to Fox Baltimore. “I don’t think money is the issue. I think accountability is the issue…This is educational homicide, there is no excuse for the failure, which has come after years of warnings over the city’s poor education standards,” added Rodriguez.
A bombshell study published this month by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) found that 16 million students were chronically absent during the pandemic. “The millions of students had missed more than 10 percent of schools days during the 2021-22 year, twice the number seen in previous years. More than eight in 10 public schools also reported stunted behavioral and social-emotional development in their students due to the pandemic, according to a May survey cited in the report.”
However, six years ago a similar report by Project Baltimore found that 13 schools in the city had zero students test ‘proficiently’ in math. An almost identical finding. “We’re still dealing with these same issues year after year,” Rodriguez continued. “It’s just scary to me and alarming to me because we know that what’s happening now, you know, it’s just opening up the floodgates to the school-to-prison pipeline. I’m beyond angry… This is why we’ve been calling for the resignation of the school CEO.”
Daily Mail notes that Rodriguez’s group has previously held rallies over the mounting educational crisis in the city, and in 2021 led calls for Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises to resign over low test scores and falling graduation rates.
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