The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on our families, communities, and healthcare system. Those on the frontlines as healthcare workers have felt the brunt of it on a daily basis. The consequences of this pandemic have had a particularly devastating impact on those suffering from substance and alcohol use disorder.
The intense isolation has exacerbated uncertainty, stress, anxiety, and depression leading to a dramatic increase in drug/alcohol usage and unfortunate relapses for those who were doing well. These challenges emerge as the public health crisis of addiction collides with the pandemic.
In December 2020, an official Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Alert Network Advisory to medical and public health professionals announced that drug overdose deaths have SOARED TO THE HIGHEST NUMBER EVER recorded in a 12 month period. Approximately 81,230 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending May 2020, with the largest spike after the COVID-19 public health emergency started from March 2020 to May 2020. According to a new report from the CDC, approximately 88,000 people died from a drug overdose between August 2019 and August 2020. Erie Country has reported 209 confirmed overdose deaths with 38 pending in 2020 and hundreds of non-fatal overdoses.