HealthDay News – The United States reached a grim record last year with nearly 71,000 drug overdose deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The preliminary numbers on death tolls show that fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths and that deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamine are also on the rise, the Associated Press reported.

The data show “a very disturbing trend,” Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir said.

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“We understand that there is an extraordinary amount of work to do, especially now as we are also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic that could markedly affect our nation’s mental health and risk of substance use,” Giroir said in a statement, the AP reported.

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