COVID and Addiction
COVID and Addiction
Seasons of Malibu Scholarship
According to the CDC there has been an increase of opiate related deaths and overdoses since COVID. I believe in recent months there is a strong correlation between the COVID-19 virus and the stay-at-home order with the increase in opiate overdoses and deaths. Being sequestered to your home and not being able to have contact with loved ones, can make a “normal person” develop symptoms of depression. Those who are already struggling with mental issues and use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism will increase their usage of said drug or alcohol. Binge drinking has been on the rise since the pandemic (New York times, 2020). And with the orders for social distancing and closure of business, including meetings for alcoholic anonymous and narcotic anonymous, people are lost and have relapses. California is one of many states that was hit hard with a high increase in overdose related deaths (CDC Health Advisory, 2020). So how do we get back on track? The slow reopening of the country is one way. But let us be honest opiate addiction has been a problem way before COVID-19 and attacking this problem will require more than meetings.
Problems and Solutions
My experience with those addicted to alcohol and drugs vary. I have family that are close to me who have stolen from me and those who become verbally abusive. An addict will do what they need to obtain that fix. The fact remains that they need help. Being from an African American family, mental health is something we just do not discuss, and I believe that is the first step in recovery but the second step in the fight of addiction. Acknowledging that there is a problem brings the problem to the forefront. The first step is prevention. The CDC’s recommendation is to have naloxone available at government facilities and clinics (CDC Health Advisory, 2020). I think that is a great idea. Addiction is strong disease and until drugs are reduced in the streets and prevention is a success, the best we can do is to stop people from dying. Having naloxone in the hands of those who have a history of overdosing and clinics that serve those with addictions will have a substantial affect on the number of deaths related to overdoses.
When we talk about prevention, the discussion of healthcare comes up. This is a whole other beast of a topic but will also have an affect on the fight against addiction and addiction related deaths. Being able to go to the clinic and have access to free healthcare is a must. Reaching out to those on the streets is a must. We cannot write off those who do drugs as just criminals. There is an underlined issue that needs to be resolved, at the very least addressed and throwing them in jail will not solve the problem.
The pandemic has hit addiction recovery hard. – The New York Times (nytimes.com)