MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont has had the highest percentage increase of any state in the U.S. in drug overdose deaths during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vermont’s overdose deaths for the 12 months ending in April 2021 went up by nearly 70% from the previous 12 months, from 123 deaths to 209, according to the CDC’s monthly national overdose death report. Nationally, overdose deaths increased by 27.2% from the previous year, The Burlington Free Press reported Friday.

Fentanyl was involved in 88% of the overdose deaths in Vermont in 2020, while cocaine was recorded as the reason for 37% of deaths.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, most opioid deaths happen when it is mixed with another substance like methamphetamine. In 2021, health officials found that opioid deaths involving meth more than doubled from 2020.

The state’s opioid report said throughout this year to August, 129 overdose deaths were recorded. In 2020, there were 157 overdose deaths from opioids.

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