Opioid Rehab AZ Discusses COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact on the Opioid Crisis

Opioid Rehab AZ Discusses COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on the Opioid Crisis

Opioid Rehab AZ Discusses COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on the Opioid Crisis

Just about a year ago, the world had no idea that its citizens would soon face what has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. Put that together with the opioid crisis already occurring, and opioid rehabs in AZ have seen an increase in struggles with addiction and recovery.

The Impact COVID-19 Has

The highly infectious nature of COVID-19 and the unpredictable way it has presented among various populations has led state and local governments to issue restrictions on which local establishments can remain open and for some legislative bodies to call for a mask-mandate or shelter-in-place.

These kinds of public health actions, combined with the unease we may feel due to a new virus we’re learning about in real-time, have made many people anxious, scared, and lonely.

We’re experiencing more stress and anxiety, which leads to:

  • Worry about our own health and the health of family members and other loved ones
  • Uncertainty about how we’ll manage our financial responsibilities due to layoffs or furloughs.
  • Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
  • Changes in diet and exercise
  • Chronic physical health issues and mental health problems are becoming worse.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs helps us cope with our fears and uncertainty about how long we’ll have to abide by this new set of rules for containing the virus.[1]

Opioid Rehab AZ Sees Increase in Trauma & Stress 

Psychologists refer to what we’re currently experiencing as acute traumatic stress.[2] Either we are personally feeling the effects of the virus or experiencing it by seeing the tragedies befalling strangers and frontline health workers. The feeling that we have a new normal or that the world has forever changed is very unsettling.

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Opioid Rehab AZ Discusses COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact on the Opioid Crisis

Drug Overdose Rates Have Climbed Over the Past Year

Given the current unease caused by the pandemic, it’s not surprising that the most recent CDC report shows that drug overdoses in the U.S. increased by nearly 5%, compared to the figures documented in the previous year’s report. The reports lag because of the time it takes to collect and analyze the data, so we have only preliminary data about which drugs were responsible for the overdoses. But the CDC’s projections indicated they believe opioids will account for more than half of all the projected deaths.[3] 

The data we do have about drug overdoses during the pandemic is limited. Still, as of August 2020, real-time data collected by ODMAP (Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program) saw an upsurge in overdose deaths. The data from ODMAP shows that over 60% of the counties who participated in the tracking program reported increases in overdoses.[4]

In October 2020, the CDC released figures for the first three months of the year. Between January and March, 19,416 people died from drug overdoses, nearly 3,000 more than the previous year. Within the calendar year 2019, the number of deaths due to overdoses was 70,980. But in the 12-month period from March 2019 to March 2020, the number of fatal overdoses was 75,500.[5]

How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Opioid Use?

While we have neither the overdose numbers beyond March 2020 nor the exact breakdown of deaths by a specific drug, the American Medical Association (AMA) notes rising opioid-related mortalities in more than 40 states.[5]  Health experts are also concerned that the isolation of the pandemic may worsen the opioid crisis. [6]

Quarantining, although necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, can be incredibly dangerous for those who are addicted to opioid painkillers since it blocks access to medications and various forms of support. Those in recovery who rely on structure and community to prevent relapse, lockdowns, or shelter-in-place could cause devastating setbacks. Being cut off from family and friends may also threaten the chance of surviving in the event of an overdose if people aren’t checking on the addicted individual regularly.

Then, there’s the inevitable added stress surrounding the pandemic that may lead those addicted to trying to cope using opioids or other illicit drugs. The American Medical Association is especially worried about “street” opioids that are laced with fentanyl, as it’s much more deadly than those prescribed by a doctor.[5]

You Can Get Help During the Pandemic – Opioid Rehab AZ

If you’re struggling with feelings of hopelessness, fear, anxiety, and loneliness, it’s understandable why you would think drugs are the only way to cope during the pandemic.  But despite some of the COVID-19 restrictions, the caring staff at Desert Cove Recovery can still offer the treatment you need during this difficult time. We provide a safe environment for you by following the recommendations given by public health practitioners. We work to find creative ways to meet remotely when in-person treatment isn’t possible. We’re here to help, and we encourage you to reach out. Please contact us today for more information.

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

[2] https://psych.ucsf.edu/copingresources/covid19

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/15/health/drug-overdose-deaths-2019/index.html

[4] https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/08/13/901627189/u-s-sees-deadly-drug-overdose-spike-during-pandemic

[5] https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article246469555.html

[6] https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article242340761.html