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The number of reported drug overdose deaths across the U.S. hit a new record during the year of COVID-19 lockdowns, provisional data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed.

Over the period from March 2020 to March 2021, a total of 96,779 people died of drug overdose.

This number represents a 29.6% increase from the year before, CNN reported.

The data released by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is provisional since recording drug overdose deaths requires “lengthy investigation.” When accounting for delayed reporting, this number may exceed 99,000, the CDC estimates, according to CNN. (RELATED: Hollywood Stars’ Overdoses Highlight Nationwide Spike In Fentanyl Deaths)

Reported drug overdose deaths in the US hit a new high of more than 96,000 in the 12-month period ending March 2021, according to data released Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

— CNN International (@cnni) October 13, 2021

Opioids were at the top of the list of the drugs that caused the most overdose deaths during the period in question. They were followed by synthetic opioids excluding methadone, which led to the lowest number of fatal drug abuse cases, according to CNN.

“This has been an incredibly uncertain and stressful time for many people and we are seeing an increase in drug consumption, difficulty in accessing life-saving treatments for substance use disorders, and a tragic rise in overdose deaths,” Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Dr. Nora Volkow said, CNN reported.

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Luxembourg to become first country in Europe to legalize cannabis

(CNN)Luxembourg is set to become the first European nation to legalize the growing and use of cannabis, the government announced in a statement on Friday.

Under the new legislation, adults over 18 in Luxembourg will be allowed to use cannabis, and to grow up to four plants per household, which would make it the first country in Europe to fully legalize the production and consumption of the drug.Decriminalization will also dramatically lower the current fines for possession of the drug to between $29 and $581 for possession of three grams or less, down from the current fines of $291 to $2,910.
    Consuming cannabis in public, however, will remain illegal.
      Trading seeds would also be permitted under the new legislation, with no limit on the quantity or levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis.Read MoreThe change of policy is an attempt by the government to crack down on drug-related crime and the black market drugs trade. Ministers will now be able to regulate the currently illegal cannabis market.Italy will likely hold a referendum on decriminalizing cannabis next yearThe new legislation has the backing of the government coalition, but a vote in parliament is still required to confirm the new proposals.It puts Luxembourg, a small landlocked with a population of just over 600,000 people, at the forefront of a growing movement across the continent to relax cannabis legislation.Italy will likely decide whether or not to decriminalize cannabis in a referendum next year, after campaign groups managed to gather the required 500,000 signatures required to force a vote.
        The consumption of cannabis is not criminalized under Italian law and marijuana for medical purposes is permitted. However, buying, selling and mass cultivating the herb is illegal and dealers could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.If the public votes to decriminalize cannabis, the purchase, sale and cultivation of the drug there will all become legal.

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