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A map of downtown Los Angeles in the city's Center for Harm Reduction with blue pins representing overdose reversal and red pins showing overdose fatalities as of Sept. 28. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

An estimated 100,306 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in a 12-month period ending April 2021, according to new provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first time drug overdose fatalities reached six figures in a 12-month period and signals that the country is on track to set another tragic milestone after reporting a record 93,331 drug deaths in 2020.

  • The data presented is incomplete, as many cases require more investigating to confirm a cause of death, though the agency's estimates rarely largely differ from the final totals.

What they're saying: "As we continue to make strides to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country," President Biden said in a statement Wednesday.

  • "As we grieve those we’ve lost and honor their memories, my Administration is committed to doing everything in our power to address addiction and end the overdose epidemic," Biden added.
  • "To all those families who have mourned a loved one and to all those people who are facing addiction or are in recovery: you are in our hearts, and you are not alone. Together, we will turn the tide on this epidemic."

The big picture: It's roughly a 28% increase over the same time period a year earlier.

  • Greater prevalence of synthetic opioids, specifically fentanyl, and the social and economic disruptions set off by the coronavirus pandemic are widely believed to be the cause of the increased deaths.

Go deeper: America's substance use crisis has spiraled

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2021 - Health

EU regulator backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill for emergency use

A photo of capsules of Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics' molnupiravir antiviral COVID pill. Photo: Merck

The European Medicines Agency Friday issued advice for a pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat COVID-19, allowing medical professionals to prescribe the drug in emergency situations.

Why it matters: It gives European nations another tool to treat potentially severe cases of the disease, though the drug, known as molnupiravir or Lagevrio, has not been approved for marketing in the EU.

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.