(USNewsMag.com) – From 1999 through 2019, nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses. The opioid crisis has ravaged American communities, leaving people of all ages and economic backgrounds dead. The problem has only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In November, the National Center for Health Statistics revealed the number of people who died from opioid overdoses topped more than 100,000 in the 12 month period ending in April 2021. The count was up almost 30% over the previous year. It was the first time since the crisis began that the number of deaths was over 100,000.
Overdoses Have Skyrocketed During the Pandemic. How Do We Stop Them?
“It has to be easier to get treatment than to buy a bag of dope."
(Note: Data shows Oregon is nearly last in state rankings for access to treatment)https://t.co/fVHwb7BA1Y
— Evan Schreiber (@SchreiberEvan) December 7, 2021
National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow told the NY Times the vast majority of overdose deaths occurred in people between ages 25 and 55 and were fueled by synthetic opioids like fentanyl. “Many people are dying without knowing what they are ingesting,” the doctor explained.
The pandemic not only made the problem worse but also hid the severity of what was happening. Depression, isolation, postponement of treatment, and other issues from the pandemic led to more frequent drug use. And the country’s attention was on the daily death count from the pandemic, leaving many in the dark about the sharp increase in drug overdoses.
As a result, the federal government is expanding access to life-saving medications to reverse an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, critics say the government response is not enough, they need to provide more funding for treatment and other programs. Without an adequate response from lawmakers, tens of thousands of children, mothers, fathers and friends will continue to lose loved ones.
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