Drug use and drug overdose deaths are suspected to be INCREASED for a number of factors influenced by the wreckage COVID-19 has caused. Kipu Health reported that the number of opioid overdoses in large cities has risen by 54% in 16 states. The link between Opiate Addiction and COVID-19 is a serious issue that individuals, families, our medical and treatment professionals are fighting to overcome.
The situation of opioid addiction and COVID-19 is continuing to unfold, but recent study findings are causing major concern for experts. Millennium Health, a national laboratory service, analyzed 500,000 urine drug tests and found that there was an increase of 32% for nonprescribed fentanyl and 20% for methamphetamine from March through May. The University of Baltimore found that suspected drug overdoses rose 18%, and even alcohol sales have increased by more than 25%.
Restrictions on air travel and closed borders have impacted drug trafficking, causing some dealer’s supplies to be diminished. This may lead someone struggling with a substance use disorder to turn to a new, unfamiliar dealer who may provide them with drugs that are more likely to lead to an overdose. For example, the issue of fentanyl being mixed in with heroin has been the culprit for many overdose deaths, as fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. If someone takes their normal dose of heroin without knowing there is fentanyl in it, it is likely they will overdose.
Drug trafficking disrupted by COVID-19 is a long-term concern, as well as its impact on present times. It is believed that the pandemic is causing dealers to stockpile drugs, leading to a decrease in prices and increased availability when restrictions are lifted. Access to high-purity drugs could lead to an increase in overdoses. Some states across America have renewed lockdowns, causing dealers to mix their supply with deadly substances. Not only do factors of drug purity and availability are adding to the opioid crisis, but the emotional and financial consequences of COVID-19 are also wreaking havoc on individuals with a substance use disorder.