TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — During a dramatic 2020 defined by a pandemic, protests and economic insecurity, the United States saw a new record high in overdose deaths across the country. Florida made up just over 8 percent of the country’s overdose deaths in the past year, according to new national mortality data.
New provisional mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that as of December 2020, 92,183 drug overdose deaths were reported, with a predicted total of 93,331. For the U.S., that’s a 29.4% increase.
The same CDC report states 0.2% of overdose deaths are pending investigation, and some data is currently “underreported due to incomplete data.”
Mortality surveillance data is stored in the National Vital Statistics System, and the report says that overdose deaths typically take longer for data analysis compared to other causes of death.
For the purposes of the mortality data, drug overdose deaths are defined by the CDC and the World Health Organization as deaths that are categorized with the following drugs:
- Natural opioid analgesics (including morphine and codeine, and semisynthetic opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone)
- Synthetic opioid analgesics other than methadone (including fentanyl and tramadol)
- Psychostimulants with abuse potential (such as methamphetamine)
- Other and unspecified narcotics
In Florida, there was a 37% change in the number of predicted overdose deaths. The CDC reports 7,579 overdose deaths were predicted in the current 12 month-ending period, compared to 5,533 of the previous period. Again, some of those numbers are said to be underreported due to incomplete data.
Still, taking the predicted values as they are, Florida’s 7,579 predicted overdose deaths make up just over 8% of the national total.
The mortality statistics used in the provisional data come from death records and death counts received and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics, which gives provisional estimates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.