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A Drug Enforcement Administration chemist handling a powder containing fentanyl in 2019. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

Roughly 71,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The figure represents a new record for the U.S. and follows 2018's slight drop in overdoses — the first time the number had gone down in almost 30 years.

By the numbers: Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl drove 2019's increase, accounting for 36,500 overdose deaths, according to AP.

  • Deaths from cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses also jumped.
  • More than 30 states are experiencing an uptick in overdose deaths.

The big picture: The rise comes despite lawmakers allotting billions of dollars to combat the opioid epidemic.

  • Health officials fear the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing recession may push overdose deaths higher this year as some Americans double down on their worst habits to cope with the mental and emotional stress of the outbreak.

Go deeper: America's addiction treatment misses the mark

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.

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