Spike in Drug Overdose Deaths Under COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of everyone around the world in countless ways. Whether you’ve lost your job, lost loved ones, or lost your normal, the stress of all the changes that coronavirus brought with it is more than enough to send individuals suffering from substance abuse down a dark path — no matter where they are in their recovery journey. Keep reading to find out more about the spike in drug overdose deaths under COVID-19, why it is happening, and what can be done.
Spike in Drug Overdose Deaths Under COVID-19: Statistics
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses were linked to more than 81,000 people’s deaths between June 2019 and May 2020
- This is a jump of 18 percent compared to the previous 12-month period
- Such deaths rose 20 percent or more in 25 states and the District of Columbia
- In April, 2,146 people died of opioid overdose, followed by 3,388 deaths in May, marking the largest monthly increase since 2015 when the federal government began collecting this data.
- Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil drove most overdose deaths
- Synthetic opioid use also increased by 38 percent between June 2019 and May 2020
Why It Is Happening
As people around the world feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic changing their lives, it is safe to say that the people who suffer from substance abuse can be more sensitive to the stress of it than others. Isolation, the stress of a new normal, and access to resources are just a few of the many reasons why a spike in drug overdose deaths under COVID-19 is happening.
One of the most helpful things for people in recovery is their support system. In fact, it is vital to a successful long-term recovery. Spending time with loved ones, staying busy, not becoming bored, going to meetings, and partaking in hobbies are all part of a healthy life. However, the isolation that COVID-19 has presented has put a stop to a lot of this.
Instead, people are finding themselves at home, unable to see their loved ones and their support systems. This can cause loneliness because, for many people, video chat just isn’t the same.
Unfortunately, this isolation, boredom, and loneliness can put individuals suffering from substance abuse on the fast track to relapse.
Stress of a New Normal
An important part of a successful, long-term recovery is having a routine. Having predictable days, goals to meet for the day or for the week, meetings to structure time around, and having favorite places to go are vital to an individual in recovery. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s daily lives and normal routines, which can be damaging for these individuals.
No longer being able to go to the gym every morning, to go to work and socialize with coworkers, to visit a favorite coffee shop, or to simply go to a movie with friends has left everyone trying to find a new normal routine. This can be difficult with the limitations that COVID-19 health guidelines have presented, which can easily send someone down the path of relapse or overdose.
Access to Resources
COVID-19 has caused many changes to the way that many businesses are run, and that includes addiction recovery and aftercare. While many luxury rehabs, like Seasons in Malibu, remain open and accepting patients during this time, it can still be difficult for many people to see their regular therapist or meeting group. They may be done virtually, or not at all. Either way, having limited access to resources to stay sober is one reason there has been a spike in drug overdose deaths under COVID-19.
What Can Be Done
- Keep up with your program. Even if your regular therapist or meeting group is now virtual or is meeting far less often, it is important to keep up with it nonetheless. Having limited help is much better than having none at all.
- Find ways to keep your support system. Whether it is regular phone calls or texts, or expanding your bubble, keep up with your loved ones and make sure you’re feeling supported.
- Self-care. Find something every day to help you unwind — a funny movie, a walk with your dog, a drive down the coast, or curling up with a hot cup of coffee, make room in your life for self-care.
About Seasons in Malibu
If you find yourself or a loved one is still struggling to stay sober during the COVID-19 pandemic, make sure you get help as quickly as possible before a deadly overdose occurs.
Treatment at Seasons in Malibu is systemic, integrative, and client-centered. Our philosophy is grounded in the understanding that in order for the client to heal, the entire system needs the opportunity to heal along with them. The pressure to “fix” the client can become overwhelming and unrealistic if we do not examine the underlying issues, dynamics, and environmental influences that might be contributing to substance abuse or ongoing mental health issues. Whenever practical, we try to include close loved ones in sessions and in the entire process of recovering from addiction and/or addressing mental health issues.
It is a priority for us that our life-changing drug and alcohol treatment be available to the people who need it. We are fully familiar with how much strength and courage it takes to pick up the phone and ask for help. Our counselors are invested in your well-being and are ready around-the-clock to guide you or a trusted friend or family member through the initial steps of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction.
With our superior team of clinicians, we are able to succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus that will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive and committed.
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com