Cherry Hill, NJ - The White House reported a significant rise in drug overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown period. The forced isolation coupled with the stress that lockdown caused saw roughly 88,000 people lose their lives during the 12-months prior to August 2020. Regina LaBelle, head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told reporters that synthetic opioids like fentanyl were the main cause of the 27% increase in drug overdose deaths compared to the previous 12 months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the highest number of drug overdose deaths on record in a 12-month period. Their findings suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rates of drug overdose deaths significantly as the added stress of lockdown started to affect those living with mental health and substance use disorders.
Robert Redfield, the CDC Director, said that the disruption to daily life that was brought on by the pandemic hit those suffering from substance abuse and addiction the hardest. Thirty-seven of the 38 U.S. jurisdictions with the ability to collect synthetic opioid data reported a rise in synthetic opioid overdose deaths during the pandemic. Some jurisdictions reported an increase of over 50 percent during the lockdown period.
The northeast region of the United States appears to be hardest hit by the sharp rise in drug overdose deaths during the pandemic, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other Northeast states were already among the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic before the COVID-19 pandemic according to data by the CDC and NIDA.
The White House has laid out a seven-part plan to help address the upward-spiking curve of drug overdose deaths following the changes that the pandemic caused. They aim to implement the plan within the next year. The highest priority, according to LaBelle, is to expand access to quality addiction treatment programs with ample support services to help those who are affected by alcohol and drug addiction.
Further points in the seven-part plan outlined by the White House call for reducing the supply of illicit substances such as fentanyl, expanding the addiction workforce and recovery-ready workplaces, harm reduction services, and the support of substance use prevention in youth among other things. As the data that encompasses all of 2020 and 2021 comes to light, the true extent of the problem may yet reveal itself.
Legacy Healing Center has been providing effective behavioral health care in South Florida for years. They recently opened a new addiction treatment center in Cherry Hill, NJ in order to expand quality addiction treatment access in the Northeast – one of the most affected areas in the country in the drug overdose epidemic. Their accredited addiction treatment services offer an ideal way for people to overcome drug addiction, especially opioid use disorder, in communities in the Northeast.
For anyone struggling with addiction or concerned about a loved one’s substance use, Legacy Healing Center is available to help 24/7. Call (888) 534-2295 or go to www.legacyhealing.com.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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