Fact check: Have 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses over the past year?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Nusaiba Mizan, PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman; radio interview produced by Alexandra HartFebruary 23, 2022 11:06 am, , ,

From PolitiFact Texas/Austin American-Statesman:

Days after the U.S. reached 900,000 total COVID-19 deaths, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, highlighted another morbid statistic. He tweeted on Feb. 14, “We recently found out our nation hit a grim milestone: 100,000 Americans died of an overdose in a single year.”

He also linked this statistic to President Joe Biden’s border policy and wrote, “Pres. Biden’s open borders policies are letting drugs like Fentanyl pour into our communities. This cannot go on – we must secure the border.”

Is it true that 100,000 Americans died of overdose “in a single year”? PolitiFact Texas took a look.

The statistic comes from the CDC

Cornyn’s office pointed to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nov. 17 news release and a Feb. 13 article by The New York Times citing that November release.

The National Center for Health Statistics estimated there were more than 100,300 drug overdose deaths nationally in a 12-month period ending April 2021. That matches what Cornyn said. Compared to the same period the year prior, drug overdose deaths had increased 28.5%.

Data released Feb. 16 indicate an estimated 104,288 Americans died from drug overdoses from September 2020 to September 2021, according to CDC media relations.

Marcia Ory, Texas A&M University School of Public Health professor and co-chair of Texas A&M’s Opioid Task Force, believes that number may be an undercount. Ory said she sees that to be the case in Texas’ rural counties…

Read the full story and see how Cornyn’s claim rated at PolitiFact Texas, and listen to an interview with PolitiFact’s Nusaiba Mizan in the audio player above.

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