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In grim milestone, U.S. overdose deaths top 100,000 for third straight year

Overdose deaths have surpassed 100,000 for the third straight year, according to federal data released Wednesday, a reminder that the nation remains mired in an intractable epidemic fueled by the potent drug fentanyl.

According to provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 107,543 people died in 2023, a slight decrease from the previous year. The agency described it as the first annual decrease in deaths since 2018, although experts cautioned that the numbers could rise in ensuing years and that the toll remains unacceptably high.

"It's only a partial victory," said University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health researcher Donald S. Burke, who believes that the death toll will keep rising, citing his analysis of decades of mortality data.


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