The US hit a record-breaking number of drug overdose deaths last year, according to preliminary data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Wednesday.
The CDC's provisional estimate of 107,622 overdose deaths represents a dramatic 15% increase from the previous record set in 2020. In all, 93,655 were estimated to have died from overdoses that year.
The data are provisional, meaning they may change before they are finalised, but they nonetheless were cause for concern in the Joe Biden administration.
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Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said it is "unacceptable" that the US is now losing a life every five minutes to drug overdoses.
"That is why President Biden’s new National Drug Control Strategy signals a new era of drug policy centered on individuals and communities, focusing specifically on the actions we must take right now to reduce overdoses and save lives," he said in a statement.
Biden in April sent to Congress his strategy on national drug control to address the overdose epidemic.