The pandemic has elevated the gruesome realities of our society as it swept away thousands of precious lives, leaving people in a state of fear and terror like no other. With the massive coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, the world changed unlike anyone had ever imagined before.
Businesses closed down, and people lost their jobs as strict restrictions forced everyone to stay isolated in their homes. The mere essence of human existence stems from the joy of connection.
However, the deadly disease stripped away the chance to even be near the ones we love resulting in significant mental health issues as quarantine became a living hell for most people.
Death Toll From Drug Overdoses on the Rise
So many people lost their lives by becoming a victim of the widespread pandemic, but there is more truth to the story than what we see from afar.
The pandemic harmed the people affected by covid and took a massive toll on the mental health of everyone. The US has recorded the highest number of yearly deaths from a drug overdose during the pandemic than ever before.
The centers for disease control and prevention report an increase of 28.5% in the deaths from a drug overdose in 12 months till last April.
Experts have believed the spike to be the result of the psychological effects of the pandemic and the supply of more synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Among the 50 US states, overdose spiked in all of them except four.
Using the data from death certificates, the CDC has estimated that 100,306 people died in the covid year due to a drug overdose compared to the 78,056 people the previous year.
Katherine Keyes, a drug abuse expert, reported to the BBC that while overdose deaths had been spiking over the last several years, the pandemic had inflamed the conflagration.
The Pandemic and Synthetic Opioids Are Significant Contributors
She added that data showed that more people have been using drugs which is a risky activity and often leads to overdose. People had scarce access to treatment options and services that could have helped prevent and reduce the harmful aftermaths of overdosing.
The deaths from overdose have exceeded the number of people who die from flu, car crashes, or even guns. In Vermont, the death toll from overdose was the highest. The number had risen 70% to 209.
Similarly, West Virginia saw a 62% rise, followed by Kentucky, which recorded a 55% rise. Ms. Keyes pointed out that the escalated use of synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, is a significant contributor to increased overdose deaths.
How Can America Combat This Tragedy?
Several users of drugs like cocaine and meth have been testing positive for fentanyl. Overdose deaths are becoming a moving epidemic as they previously just concentrated around drug users who used opioids like heroin but are now spreading amongst other drug users.
This American tragedy can be prevented, as believed by Shannon Monnat, the director of the Lerner Center for Public Health. She stated that overdose would continue to rise even after covid is successfully extinguished, and it will be essential to attack this problem from numerous angles.
Ms. Monnat stressed that the possible solution is to employ the use of fentanyl test strips along with providing the required supervision to monitor the drug use with proper access to healthcare and recovery services. She concluded that drug overdose is a symptom of integrated economic and social problems in our community.
As long as these obstructions are not adequately dealt with, any proposed solution to the drug problem will be in vain. The root of the issue must be combatted to rid America of this sad tragedy.