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During the coronavirus pandemic, drug overdose rates in America have increased. In 2020, overdoses increased by 31% in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate has increased most dramatically among blacks and Native Americans – increasing by 49% and 43% respectively in just one year.

Experts say much of this increase can be explained by the growing prevalence of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. The journalist Erin McCormick investigated how the drug became so prevalent in the United States and how its rise is rewriting the narrative of America’s opioid crisis.

According to a Guardian analysis of 2020 federal data, those under 24 have been particularly hard hit by this latest wave of overdoses. In this age group, accidental drug-related deaths rose 50% in a single year, claiming 7,337 young lives in 2020. One mother who experienced this crisis first-hand is Pearl Mendoza. She says Michael Safi how her 20-year-old son, Daniel, overdosed on fentanyl after being sold fake Xanax pills by a dealer on Snapchat.

How fentanyl flooded the US and skyrocketed opioid-related deaths |  News

Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

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