Surge in drug overdose deaths began long before the pandemic

According to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were about 81,000 drug-related overdose deaths (ODs) between June 2019 and May 2020. That figure represents the mostever ODs recorded in a 12-month period.  

Of course, the CDC laid most of the blame for this grim increase on the coronavirus pandemic. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said, “The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard. As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it’s important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences.” 

Well, it’s certainly convenient for Dr. Redfield to be able to blame the historic high in ODs on the coronavirus pandemic. 

But in my view, the problem is much more complex. And involves many factors, including the government’s hysterical response to the virus, the continued lockdowns, widespread economic troubles, and limited and restricted access to safe, natural, non-drug treatments for people with substance abuse disorders, mental health issues, and chronic pain. 

Plus, the upward trend in ODs clearly relates to something that began long before the coronavirus outbreak…  

Skyrocketing ODs predate the coronavirus 

The CDC’s report only included data from June 2019 through May 2020. Which means the first nine months of data included in the report was collected before the coronavirus pandemic even fully hit the U.S.  

So, how can the CDC blame the record-high number of ODs during that period almost exclusively on the pandemic?  

Clearlysomething else is going on. And I’ve talked about it here before… 

Middle-class Americans dying in droves 

Back in 2015, two Princeton researchers discovered that mortality (death) rates among white, middle-aged, middle-class people increased between 1999 and 2014 for the first time in history 

By stark contrast, every other age group—and every other ethnic and racial groupcontinued to experience improvements in death rates. (In simpler termseveryone else in the U.S. was living longer—except white, middle-aged, middle-class men and women.)  

In fact, it got so bad that the plight of white, middleclass Americans began dragging down longevity for the entire U.S. populationdespite continued improvements in mortality rates among other population groups! 

It turns out, these rising death rates stemmed directly from increases in alcoholic liver disease, substance abuse, and suicide—including ODs of both prescription and non-prescription narcotics. In other words…this trend began 20 full years before the coronavirus pandemic came on the scene! 

CDC missing the forest for the trees 

In their report, CDC officials made four recommendations for how medical professionals can help prevent ODs during the ongoing pandemic 

But they failed to mention the benefits of improving access to the various safe, effective, non-drug approaches to managing substance abuse, relieving pain, and improving mood. Including acupuncture, bodywork, herbal therapies, hypnosis, massage, meditation, and yoga. 

Sadly, we have a pathetically mismanaged healthcare system that causes more disease and deaths than it prevents. And the real problem isn’t just simply the pandemic or the drug abuse epidemic…but the plague of the crony, corporatist, sick healthcare system.  

So, if you or someone you know is suffering, I encourage you to turn to these safe and effective approaches instead of dangerous, harmful drugs. You can learn about which of these mind-body approaches will work best for you personally in my books: Your Emotional Type, New World Mindfulness and Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain: Keys to Treatment Based on Your Emotional Type 

In addition, as the coronavirus lockdowns continue to drag on, I suggest you take some practical steps to support your overall immunity and your mood, including spending more time in Naturefinding your own relief from strong feelings, and supplementing daily with 10,000 IU of vitamin D. (You can learn more about my top immune health recommendations in my Pandemic Protection Playbook: How to become “immune ready” in every season. To gain access this essential guide, click here now!) 

P.S. Be sure to tune back in next week! Because in next Monday’s Daily Dispatch, I’ll report on the strong link between coronavirus and increasing homicides.  


“Overdose Deaths Accelerating During COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12/7/20. (