Covid-19 Pandemic Increases Opiate Overdoses
More than 70,000 lives were lost in 2019 due to drug overdoses. It’s no secret that the United States has been experiencing an opioid epidemic for the last several years. More programs have been put into place to help those that suffer, and these programs are easily accessible to anyone, even those with low-income. The country had been trying to get a handle on this issue, and Covid-19 has made it EVEN worse of a problem because healthcare is now limited or inaccessible in certain areas.
Covid-19 Pandemic and Opiate Addiction
Over the course of 2020, suddenly the opioid epidemic fell back into the shadows due to this virus, but the epidemic didn’t disappear. It got much worse, especially overdose and overdose deaths. In 2020, weekly emergency department visits for drug overdoses increased by up to 45%. Also, opioid overdose emergency department visits were up 28.8% overall year over year. Some were fortunate and survived, but many did not.
According to an article published by ABC News:
The increase in overdose deaths is concerning,” said Deb Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention about the rising rates of overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC said in December that the rate of overdose deaths was accelerating during the pandemic, driven by synthetic opioids, which rose 38.4% during the year leading up to June 2020. (ABCNews)
Opioid addiction and overdoses can happen for several reasons. And, we do know that there is a huge correlation between addiction and mental health, especially untreated mental health disorders. However, anything that threatens a person’s mental health leaves them more susceptible to substance abuse issues. Grief, loss, fear, trauma, stress, loneliness, depression, and/or anxiety are just some of the things that could trigger someone to want to self-medicate.
Why Have Drug Overdoses Risen Because of Covid-19?
The coronavirus has forced lockdowns and stay-at-home orders all over the United States; people’s daily lives have been disrupted. Due to this virus, some individuals have lost friends or loved ones, some have lost their jobs or businesses, and for some, the fear of contracting the virus has kept them in their homes, isolated and bored. This pandemic has hit people hard, especially those that struggle with substance abuse disorders.
A study that was recently done has shown that emergency department visits are up not only for opioid overdoses, but mental health issues, child neglect and abuse, intimate partner violence, and also suicide attempts. Support groups and 12-step meetings have been forced to cancel due to the social distancing guidelines, so people have nowhere to turn for emotional support. The lockdowns and stay-at-home orders may have saved some people from contracting the virus and losing their lives, but it has put a huge burden on those with mental health and substance abuse disorders. This problem is going to have to be addressed to get a handle on the rising number of deaths.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction and Abuse
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. At Agape Treatment Center, we believe treatment should be individualized to meet each person’s specific needs. We offer various forms of rehab services and treating your mental health needs are of our utmost importance. Our evidence-driven therapy and counseling methods will help to get you on the road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to continue to suffer, give us a call today.