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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 20, 2021 - World

Putin supports week at home for workers amid rising COVID-19 deaths

A serviceman of Russia's Emergencies Ministry wearing protective gear disinfects Moscow's Belorussky railway station on October 20, 2021. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday supported a proposal to institute a non-working week to curb record high coronavirus deaths, AP reports.

Driving the news: Putin said Wednesday that he backs a non-working period, where workers will stay at home, beginning Oct. 30 and continuing through the following week, when four of seven days are already state holidays, per AP.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

2 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.