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American News Jan 12, 2022 3:43 PM EST

Deaths of despair in 2020 exceed those from COVID in Washington state

In 2020, 3,900 Washingtonians died from drugs, alcohol, or suicide, whereas 3,300 died from COVID.

Deaths of despair in 2020 exceed those from COVID in Washington state
Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA

Data from the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention shows that fatalities from drug overdoses, alcohol use, and suicide spiked in 2020. In 2020, 3,900 Washingtonians died from drugs, alcohol, or suicide, whereas 3,300 died from COVID.

According to an analysis by The Seattle Times, in Washington state these approximately 3,900 deaths represent an increase of almost 600 deaths from those causes in 2019. Deaths attributed to COVID in 2020 were about 3,300.

In fact, COVID was only the fifth highest cause of death in the state in 2020.

Washington echoed a national trend of deaths caused by drug overdoses and alcohol increased significantly in 2020, but deaths by suicide declined slightly.

There was also an increase among people below 35 years of age and among black, Hispanic and Native American men.

Despite the slight decline from 2020, suicides increased in Washington among people under the age of 45, Hispanics, and Asian women.

Deaths caused by drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning had one of the biggest increases in Washington accounting for 1,641 deaths in 2020, an increase of almost 500 from 2019.

The rates of these deaths increased among both men and women across all age groups in the majority of racial and ethnic groups.

These types of deaths were more likely to happen in rural parts of the state.

In December, Fox News reported that Fentanyl overdoses became the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 45.

"Between 2020 and 2021, nearly 79,000 people between 18 and 45 years old — 37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021 — died of fentanyl overdoses," according to a data analysis from opioid awareness organization Families Against Fentanyl shows.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which can be deadly even in small amounts. Other drugs, such as heroin, meth and marijuana, can be laced with it. The DEA added that Mexico and China are the primary sources for the supply of fentanyl into the United States.

According to analysis of CDC data from Families Against Fentanyl, more adults between 18 and 45 died of fentanyl overdoses in 2020 than any other leading cause of death, including COVID-19, car accidents, gun violence, breast cancer and suicide.

According to preliminary CDC data, drug overdose deaths are expected to surpass 100,000 in 2021, a 28 percent increase from April 2020 to April 2021.

According to data from Customs and Border Protection, Fentanyl seizures at the border reached record highs in 2021 amid the Biden administration's growing southern border crisis.

According to NBC, the 15,000 pounds of fentanyl seized in 2021 is more than enough "…to kill every American." The New York Post added that 886 pounds of fentanyl seized by the state of Texas equals roughly 200,790,522 "lethal doses" of fentanyl.

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