The US government reported on Wednesday that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year.
This estimate far exceeds the high of about 72,000 drugs Overdose death Reached the previous year, an increase of 29%.
“This is an amazing loss of human life,” Brown University public health researcher Brandon Marshall, tracking overdose trends, told the Associated Press.
He added that the country is already fighting the worst drug overdose epidemic, but it is clear that “COVID has greatly exacerbated the crisis.”
Experts say the lockdown and other pandemic restrictions isolate drug addicts and make treatment more difficult.
“Like all other behavioral healthcare companies, we must listen to what the governor says, shut down on-site treatment and switch to Zoom,” Kate Judd, project director at the Coastline Recovery Center in San Diego, California, told Reuters News. mechanism.
“We tried our best. We tried to make lemonade with lemons, but it was not as effective as face-to-face, face-to-face, person-to-person connection.”
Jordan McGlashen died of a drug overdose in his apartment in Ypsilanti, Michigan last year. On May 6, the day before his 39th birthday, he was pronounced dead.
“It’s really hard for me to think about the way Jordan died. He was alone, emotionally suffering, and felt he had to use it again,” said his brother Colin McGrason, who publicly described his brother’s poison in the obituary. addiction.
Jordan McGlashen’s death was related to heroin and fentanyl.
Although prescription painkillers have driven the overdose epidemic in the country, they were first replaced by heroin and then heroin. Fentanyl, A dangerously powerful opioid drug, in recent years. Fentanyl was developed to treat severe pain caused by diseases such as cancer, but it is increasingly being sold illegally and mixed with other drugs.
“What is really driving the surge in overdose is this increasingly toxic drug supply,” said Shannon Monnat, associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University, who studied the geographic patterns of overdose.
“To some extent, almost all of these increases are fentanyl contamination. Heroin is contaminated. Cocaine is contaminated. Methamphetamine is contaminated.”
Monart said there is currently no evidence that more Americans started taking drugs last year. Conversely, the increased number of deaths is likely to be people who are already battling addiction. Some people told her research team that suspending evictions and extending unemployment benefits allowed them to have more money than usual. They said “When I have money, I will hoard my (medicine) supply,” she said.
Part of America’s deadliest year
Overdose deaths are just one aspect of the deadliest year in American history overall. About 378,000 death toll Due to COVID-19, more than 3.3 million people died across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed death certificates to arrive at an estimate of drug overdose deaths in 2020. An estimate of more than 93,000 translates to an average of more than 250 deaths per day, or approximately 11 deaths per hour.
The increase of 21,000 is the largest year-on-year increase since the increase of 11,000 in 2016.
More historical background: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of deaths from drug overdose reported in the United States in 1970 was less than 7,200 when the heroin epidemic was raging in American cities. There were about 9,000 people in 1988, which was about the peak of the crack epidemic.
The proliferation of fentanyl is one of the reasons why some experts predict that the number of deaths from drug overdose will not drop significantly this year. Although there is no national data yet, some state data seems to support their pessimism. For example, Rhode Island reported 34 and 37 overdose deaths in January and February, respectively, the most months in at least five years.
For Collin McGlashen (Collin McGlashen), last year was an “incredibly dark period” that began in January when the family’s beloved patriarch died of cancer.
McGlashen said that the death of their father left his musician brother Jordan into chaos.
He said: “Someone can do well for a long period of time, and then it deteriorates in an instant.”
Then came the pandemic. Jordan lost his job. “This is a final drop.”