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Smoking drugs now linked to more overdose deaths than injecting drugs, report finds

·1 min

The percentage of overdose deaths linked to smoking drugs rose sharply in recent years, overtaking injection as the leading route of drug use involved in such deaths, according to a new report. The report looked at information from crime scene investigations, witness reports, and autopsy data and categorized overdose deaths by evidence of smoking, injecting, ingesting, or snorting drugs. By the end of 2022, smoking was the most common form of drug consumption involved in overdose deaths. Specifically, the percentage of overdose deaths that involved smoking increased almost 74% between 2020 and 2022. During the same time period, the percentage of overdose deaths involving injections fell. More than 109,000 people died of a drug overdose in the United States in 2022 alone. Nearly 70% of those who died were using synthetic opioids. Smoking a drug may be perceived as having a lower overdose risk and more control over consumption. The trend of smoking drugs can inform harm-reduction workers to provide safer smoking materials and interventions to reduce the health risks associated with fentanyl use.