Overdose Deaths on the Rise Again Amid COVID-19


Suspected overdose submissions to the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Overdose Data Mapping Application Program from January to April this year are up 16.6% vs. the same period in 2019, according to an ODMAP report.

Fatal overdoses are up 11.4% over that period, and nonfatal overdoses have increased by 18.6%. The trend continued into the early part of May, with overdose cases up 8% in the first six days of the month. (The ODMAP report was published May 13.)

ODMAP data suggests the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a sharp increase in overdose cases, as the rise in overdoses in 2020 has outpaced the program’s projections based on historical data.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed 155 overdose deaths thus far in 2020. The county had 158 overdose deaths in all of 2019.

“All those extra stressors are there,” Sara Schreiber, technical director at the medical examiner’s office said, per a report. “It’s really the perfect storm for something awful to happen.”