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Colorado is on track to surpass 1,800 drug overdose deaths by 2021

DENVER (KDVR) – The pandemic-era increase in drug overdoses in Colorado will only continue into 2021.

Colorado’s drug overdose rate spiked by 50% from May 2019 to May 2021, trending directly with increases nationally. Fueled by synthetic opioids fentanyl, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment is projecting 1,838 this year — the highest total ever, up from 1,477 last year.

The number of fentanyl-related overdoses has also skyrocketed, from 540 last year to 857 in 2021.

The nation’s flood of cheaply manufactured painkillers means fentanyl-related overdoses now account for half of the state’s drug-related deaths.

In 2018, less than 10% of drug overdoses in Colorado were associated with fentanyl. This year, however, nearly half, or 48 percent, were drug-related.

Overdose is a statewide problem – only half a dozen counties are free – but they are concentrated in only a few counties in the Front Range.

Three-quarters of the state’s drug overdoses occur in Denver, El Paso, Adams, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties.

Denver was the state county with the highest number of overdoses, with 319 in the 12 months ending March 2021; El Paso County comes in second with 301.

https://kdvr.com/news/data/colorado-on-track-to-exceed-1800-overdose-deaths-in-2021/ Colorado is on track to surpass 1,800 drug overdose deaths by 2021

Emma Bowman

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