Drug Overdoses Worsened by Covid-19

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A new study from the CDC reports that not only were the US drug overdoses numbers in 2019 worse than any previous year on record, but signs are showing that the problem could be even worse in the midst of the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic. Up until 2019, numbers had been high, but technically in decline. The numbers now show that programs meant to curb the death rate from the opioid crisis may not be working as well as experts may have thought. We also know that drug rehab patients in places like Panama City, FL or in all of Florida, are at increased risk because Florida is one of the states that has been most devastated by Covid-19. That devastation has been concentrated on health care infrastructure, the very system that is designed to fight overdoses and treat drug addiction in the state of Florida. To be clear about how much of a step backward the data has shown, the CDC said this in a briefing just released, 

“The new CDC data shows the progress is seen in 2018 essentially was erased in 2019, as the number of U.S. overdose fatalities increased by 4.6% and reached a new high of 70,980 deaths. According to the data, 37 states and the District of Columbia reported an increase in or a stable number of drug-related overdose deaths in 2019 when compared with 2018. South Dakota reported the biggest increase, at 54%.”

So now only was the progress that the health care field had made against the opioid crisis essentially erased in 2019, but in 2020 a global pandemic has now nearly overwhelmed the whole field of medical care, and particularly in the state of Florida. Not only does data suggest that 2019 was the worst year ever, but the latest data actually suggests that 2020 will be a new record for opioid-related deaths, and the Covid-19 disease outbreak has greatly added to the difficulties of dealing with the issue. The “Advisory Board” website, which published the CDC data, talked to Brendan Saloner, a substance use disorder expert from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He believes that the increasing anxiety and feelings of rootlessness has contributed to the drug use epidemic, and believes the pandemic and the opioid crisis could work together to cause a worse case scenario for people fighting to lower deaths from overdoses, which is not a particularly optimistic viewpoint, but seems to be the actual situation based on the data from the CDC, which still must be finalized and published. The briefing correctly states that social distancing and feelings of loneliness can make life more difficult for people with substance use disorders. I personally believe that the best we can hope to accomplish right now is to have people as aware as possible of the dangers of both Covid-19 and the opioid crisis, because the sharing of good information is something that can help us fight both, even if things look bleak right now. If you are currently seeking drug rehabilitation in Panama City, FL I think that is important to note that Covid-19 cases in that are have been very low, as of now, and that anyone seeking treatment for addiction of any kind is doing the right thing. 

By Tim Cannon

 

References

“Fatal drug overdoses hit a record high last year. Covid-19 is making the problem worse.” CDC. July 17, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/07/17/overdose