Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force Statement on CDC Report on Dramatic Increase in Overdose Deaths Across U.S. During COVID-19 Pandemic
**Task Force to hold its first meeting on April 29th to examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and addiction**
Washington, April 15, 2021
**New data shows a nearly 29% increase in overdose deaths from October 2019 through September 2020**
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Trone (D-MD), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), founders and co-chairs of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, released the following statement on new CDC data showing a steep increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“The health and economic consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have been significant and far-reaching, and we are just beginning to learn the magnitude of our nation’s current mental health and addiction crisis. This new data from the CDC shows a significant increase in overdose deaths during the pandemic, and while it is deeply troubling, it also makes our work all the more important.
“As the founders and co-chairs of the new Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, our goal is to identify and advance meaningful solutions and enact policies to address the substance use disorder crisis, improve access to mental health care, and reduce overdose deaths. We know that the COVID-19 public health crisis created new barriers for Americans seeking support and treatment for mental health disorders and addiction, and the stress has created new challenges for countless people across the nation. Our first Task Force meeting will examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and the substance use disorder crisis in the U.S. – this will be the first of many as we work on a bipartisan basis to advance policies that will save lives.”