The CDC counted almost 97,000 drug overdose deaths during the first year of COVID-19, a devastating side effect of a pandemic that’s affected every corner of life. The number is about a 30 percent increase from the previous 12-month cycle, according to CNN. The overdoses were recorded between March 2020 and March 2021, one of the most restrictive periods of the pandemic. Drug overdose deaths increased by 30 percent from 2019 to 2020, the largest single-year increase. “It is important to remember that behind these devastating numbers are families, friends, and community members who are grieving the loss of loved ones,” Regina LaBelle, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement. The tragic number is still expected to grow; the CDC expects it…

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