Lifestyle Health US Overdose Deaths Surpassed Over 100,000 in One Year amid COVID Pandemic, CDC Says "We cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country," President Joe Biden said of the statistics By Nicholas Rice Nicholas Rice Instagram Twitter Nicholas Rice is a Staff Editor for PEOPLE Magazine. He began working with the brand as an Editorial Intern in early 2020, before later transitioning to a freelance role, and then staff positions soon after. Nicholas writes and edits anywhere between 7 to 9 stories per day on average for PEOPLE, spanning across each vertical the brand covers. Nicholas has previous work experience with Billboard, POPSUGAR, Bustle and Elite Daily. When not working, Nicholas can be found playing with his 5 dogs, listening to pop music or eating mozzarella sticks. People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 18, 2021 10:17 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Getty Images Deaths linked to the drug epidemic in the United States have reached a new peak amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing that 100,306 people died of drug overdoses in the country during a 12-month period ending in April 2021. The information marks an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths that were recorded during the same period the year prior, the CDC said. According to the organization, overdose deaths from synthetic opioids — mostly fentanyl — as well as psychostimulants like methamphetamine increased during the time period observed. Cocaine deaths similarly went up alongside deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids, such as prescription pain medication, the CDC added. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Getty Images How Fentanyl Became One of the Biggest Causes of Drug Overdoses in the U.S. Commenting on the data in a Wednesday statement, President Joe Biden called the statistics a "tragic milestone." "As we continue to make strides to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country," Biden, 78, said, before highlighting the important work of The American Rescue Plan to address addiction. "We've delivered nearly $4 billion to strengthen and expand services for substance use disorder and mental health. We're working to make health coverage more accessible and affordable for all Americans, so that more people who need care can get it," he said. "We are strengthening prevention, promoting harm reduction, expanding treatment, and supporting people in recovery, as well as reducing the supply of harmful substances in our communities. And we won't let up." Biden also shared his condolences with those who have lost loved ones, and sent support to those currently struggling with addiction. "To all those families who have mourned a loved one and to all those people who are facing addiction or are in recovery: you are in our hearts, and you are not alone," he said. "Together, we will turn the tide on this epidemic."