Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 88,000 people had died from drug overdoses in the 12 month period ending in August 2020 - an increase of 27% on the previous year.
The US authorities say the increase has been driven by illegally manufactured synthetic opioids.
Peter Canning, a paramedic in Connecticut, has just released a book, Killing Season, about the crisis.
He told BBC World News the problem was being made worse by the isolation many people had to endure during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Immediately after Covid struck us here, we started to see an increase in the deaths. The problem is that Covid by increasing isolation, you have more people who are now using alone," Mr Canning said." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-56750031