ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Roughly every five minutes, there is an overdose death in the U.S.

The CDC said this week that overdose deaths in the U.S. for 2021 are up by 15% when compared to 2020, with 107,622 people dying. The major causes were prescription drugs, cocaine, meth, and topping the list: synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

“I think it’s touched every one of us at some point, whether family, friends — or someone we know,” said Deputy Michael Favata with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Heroin Task Force.

When it comes to 2021 numbers here, he said we’re actually a bit lower than 2020. 137 deaths in 2020 compared to 130 deaths in 2021. So far in 2022, the numbers stand at 43 deaths and 166 overdoses. 

“We’re running pretty even to where we were last year,” he says.

He wants to remind everyone these are confirmed overdoses. “We know that there are overdoses that happen all day that are never reported,” he says.

Another major factor behind the national and local numbers: Fentanyl flowing into the US. “We’re seeing fentanyl in pretty much everything that we test,” he says.

Michele Lawrence with the University of Rochester Medical Center says much of the national spike is due to stigma.

“A sense that substance use disorder is maybe something people choose to do, or that it happens to other people and not us,” Lawrence said.

The pandemic shut down and our emergence from it is also a factor.

“You need support (of others) in that recovery,” she said.

Lawrence said, in reality, substance abuse affects everyone. 

“We want to make sure people who want to recover have access to recovery,” she said.

But Favata said getting those who are addicted to drugs into treatment is actually a challenge. 

“If someone’s not ready to do it, no matter what we do, it’s very difficult,” he said.

Favata said prevention is also a tool to help lower overdoses. The Sheriff’s Office works on education and training programs with various community organizations.