A West Virginia city wrestled down an addiction crisis. Then came COVID-19

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HUNTINGTON, WV (AP) – As the COVID-19 pandemic killed more than a half-million Americans, it also quietly inflamed what was before it one of the country’s greatest public health crises: addiction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 88,000 people died of drug overdoses in the 12 months ending in August 2020. That’s the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a year.

Huntington was once ground zero for the addiction epidemic. But after a hard-fought battle, the overdose rate plummeted. Until the pandemic arrived, and undid much of their hard work.

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