Pain in the Nation 2022


Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released an article that provides evidence of a correlation between the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic and substance abuse/suicide related deaths in the United States. The article, “Pain in the Nation 2022: U.S. Experienced Highest Ever Combined Rates of Deaths Due to Alcohol, Drugs, and Suicide During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” authored by Molly Warren, features three main sections:

  1. [A] look back at the past two decades of the drug overdose crisis and a reconsideration of policy priorities;
  2. [A] review of the latest mortality trends from alcohol, drugs, and suicide; and
  3. [A]n outline of key policy solutions and recommendations to stem and reverse these trends.

TFAH calls upon policymakers to take action against preventable deaths by following recommendations outlined in this brief. By focusing on the prevention and intervention of mental health issues surrounding substance abuse, it may be possible to lower the rates of related deaths, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The data provided in this report are gathered from the CDC Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) Database’s National Center for Health Statistics’ Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999–2020.

For more information, check out HSDL’s In Focus on Pandemics and Epidemics.


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