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Tramadol pills, an opioid. Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded over 96,000 deaths from drug overdoses in a twelve-month period ending in March 2021, according to provisional data released Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's a nearly 30% jump over the preceding 12 months and coincides with one of the deadliest periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, when stay-at-home orders radically changed daily life for most Americans.

  • In July, the CDC reported that drug overdoses had hit a high in 2020, in large part due to the increased prevalence of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Of note: The data presented is provisional as many cases require "lengthy investigation" to confirm a cause of death, per the CDC.

By the numbers: The reported number of overdoses in the 12-month period ending in March 2021 was 96,779. The predicted number of cases for the same period is 99,106 deaths.

  • It's a 29.6% increase in reported deaths from March 2020.
  • All but 3 states saw increases in overdose deaths with Vermont experiencing the largest – 85.1% – jump.

What they're saying: "It is important to remember that behind these devastating numbers are families, friends, and community members who are grieving the loss of loved ones," Regina LaBelle, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told CNN.

Watch: A conversation on COVID-19 and America’s opioid crisis

Go deeper: Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in the U.S.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - Health

FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill

The Merck logo. Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it will meet on Nov. 30th to review Merck's experimental oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment

Why it matters: An oral antiviral drug designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be a key tool to combat the pandemic. Merck ended its vaccine development in January.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
10 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

Colin Powell dies from COVID complications at 84

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, died of complications from COVID-19, his family announced Monday. He was 84.

Driving the news: The Powell family said in a statement that he was fully vaccinated. "We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment."