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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

Florida's secret delta toll

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roughly 4,500 Tampa Bay residents — an average of about 36 per day — died from COVID-19 over the four months the Florida Department of Health did not share daily pandemic information with citizens.

Driving the news: The data is now available and gives a clearer picture of the heartbreaking toll of the latest record-breaking spikes from the delta variant — which is only now subsiding — between June and October.

Civil rights groups sue Oklahoma over law banning critical race theory

The Oklahoma state capitol in Oklahoma City. Photo: Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A group of civil rights organizations is suing Oklahoma over a law that restricts discussion of race and gender in public schools.

Why it matters: The law is one of several Republican-led attempts to ban critical race theory (CRT), a concept that links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.