With COVID-19 circling the globe, 2020 has been a year like no other. Along with the disastrous effects on people’s physical health, the coronavirus pandemic has also led to a variety of secondary problems including an increase in drug use and drug overdose deaths.
Early 2020 Drug Overdoses from the Coronavirus Pandemic
Recently the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released some alarming figures on the number of overdoses in 2020 and 2019. From June 2019 to May 2020, the United States saw over 81,000 drug overdose deaths, the highest number on record in a 12-month span. 1 Although much of this period falls before the full impact of COVID-19, the numbers suggest an especially high uptick in the months after the coronavirus pandemic hit. During this time, there were increases in overdose deaths from cocaine, methamphetamine, and especially synthetic opioids like fentanyl suggesting that the problem is not restricted to one drug.1 Those who neglect to get opioid addiction treatment or care for the use of these other drugs are at risk.
2020 Drug Overdoses Just Beginning
Besides the high number of deaths, another alarming part of the CDC’s report is the fact that it only shows numbers for drug overdoses in 2020 up to May. Total numbers are still being calculated and are not yet being released by the CDC. With the serious impact that the coronavirus has had on people’s financial well-being, mental health, and relationships, the end result for 2020 could be disastrous. Other sources have already reported such trends with numbers that suggest that drug overdose deaths in 2020 have continued to spike like the virus itself. San Francisco, for example, showed 58 drug overdose deaths in November alone which brought the total for the year up to 621 deaths.2 Not only is this total higher than last year’s, but also it is far higher than the number of people who have died from the coronavirus itself at just 173 people.3 Virginia is also showing record-breaking numbers of overdoses in 2020. By the end of October, the state had already reported 2,053 drug overdose deaths in 2020 compared to the previous record of 1,626 a year.4 With such high numbers of drug overdoses from coronavirus spanning across the nation, many people are in need of help. For anyone who may be hesitant to get in-person help, online addiction treatment is a viable option that makes care more accessible. Although 2020 may be coming to a close, its problems won’t magically end with the ringing in of the New Year. Even with the vaccine, the impact of the coronavirus will likely continue to carry over into the next year as people’s mental health and economy take time to recover. If you or someone you love needs help for drug use or poor mental health, stop waiting for something bad to happen to get care. At Vertava Health, we are expanding our services to include behavioral health care to help people overcome not only their addictions but the mental health symptoms that often surround them.