Opioid Overdoses Have Increased By 29% During the Pandemic

woman wearing face mask

As we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19’s rampant spread through the United States, it’s safe to say that the global pandemic has had a devastating impact on our country and daily lives. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs or had to navigate working remotely, and the U.S. has recently surpassed 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus. There has also been much research showing people turning to alcohol and drugs to cope with social isolation and economic instability.

A recent study has found that there’s been a specific rise in the number of opioid overdoses in the country. According to JAMA Psychiatry, the weekly rates of visits to emergency departments (EDs) for opioid overdoses went up nearly 29% compared to last year. The study analyzed around 190 million ED visits between March and October 2020 – the height of the pandemic.

The global pandemic hit the country during an ongoing opioid epidemic. In 2019 alone, more than 70,000 individuals died from drug overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Why People Are Turning to Opioids

There are many reasons why individuals abuse drugs like opioids, but there are a few specific reasons why more people are turning to drugs during the pandemic. One big reason is social isolation. Because of social-distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders, people have gone months without seeing loved ones. It’s well known that isolation plays a key role in addiction, as losing a sense of love and belonging leads to negative feelings like depression and anger. Boredom is also especially dangerous for individuals, especially those in recovery.

Other reasons why people may be turning to opioids during the pandemic include:

  • Coping with losing a job or threat of eviction
  • Loss of routine or structure
  • Mental health issues
  • Reduced access to professional counseling services
  • Increased risk of domestic violence or neglect at home

Several celebrities who have spoken about their recovery journeys publicly have admitted to falling off the wagon in response to pandemic stressors, too. Last December, comedian John Mulaney voluntarily checked himself into rehab for cocaine and alcohol abuse. Singer Miley Cyrus admitted to relapsing in an interview with Rolling Stone.

“I was pretty much fully sober. Then, like a lot of people during the pandemic, I fell off,” Cyrus said. “It was really a struggle. Mental health and anxiety and all that. I lost myself there.”

Though vaccines are now more available to the public, the U.S. will have to reckon with the toll this year has taken on our collective mental health and address the high rate of opioid overdoses. The CDC has recommended increasing the public’s awareness of opioid overdose and prevention education, as well as expanding distribution and use of naloxone.

Combating Arizona’s Drug Epidemic Through Change

Decision Point Center takes a whole-person approach to drug addiction treatment to help individuals stay engaged in their recovery process. For years, our team has worked to adapt our treatments to the unique needs of individuals so we can help as many people in Arizona as possible.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arizona has one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the U.S. as of 2018, with 23.8 deaths per 100,000 people. Many organizations and local officials have declared Arizona to be in an epidemic as more illegal drugs and substances have been smuggled over the southern border. Our team is trying to fight this statistic by offering treatments for all kinds of addictions, from meth addiction to opioid addiction. Whether you’re addicted to fentanyl or morphine, you can rest easy knowing we’ve helped countless individuals who’ve been in your position and can help you get your life back on track.

Call Decision Point Center at (844) 292-5010, or contact us online to get the help you need for your drug addiction. We can help you reclaim your life through our treatments, which consist of therapy, support groups, and more.

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