New data from the collaborative Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, a federal initiative that tracks data through EMS, ambulance, hospitals, and police, shows that fatal and non-fatal overdoses were 18 percent higher in March of this year than March of 2019, 29 percent higher this April, and 42 percent higher this May.
These statistics are really concerning. The most dangerous class of drugs worldwide are opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin, and of course, synthetic opioids, like fentanyl. These drugs were the cause of about two-thirds of the overdose deaths in the world in recent years according to the United Nations. Recent data shows that fentanyl use in particular has gone up in the United States during this pandemic, especially when it’s laced with other drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine.
This new information about the resurgence of addiction is particularly discouraging because in recent years we’ve made great progress. After years and years of increased overdose deaths every year, finally in the last few years we began to see a reversal of that. But during this pandemic, the opposite is happening. In 2017, Ohio’s overdose opioid death rate was almost three times the national average. We were one of the top three states in the country in terms of opioid deaths. Then in 2018, we were one of the leaders in turning the tide with a 22 percent reduction in one year in overdose deaths.
But these new reports show that now we’re going the other way. Thanks to the coronavirus our lives have changed in so many ways. Many individuals have lost their jobs or have had to radically change the way they work. Many patients and caregivers who relied on face-to-face interaction and around-the-clock care to be able to stay the course on recovery from drug addiction and from mental health issues lost vital access to care. Some have fallen off their treatment plans. Some have relapsed. Unfortunately, this is happening right now.
If we combine that with the feelings of isolation, frustration and despair many people have felt with these dual health care and economic crises, you’ve got a perfect storm for the resurgence in opioid deaths. And that’s exactly what has happened in Ohio and around the country.
There’s no question that the greatest priority facing our country at this moment is the coronavirus pandemic. But the rising number of overdoses in Ohio and around the country show that there’s even more at stake here than we realize. We know of the direct impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, but losing ground on addiction and behavioral health is one of the indirect casualties.
It's a very difficult time now for people suffering with addiction, and those who are trying very hard to maintain their sobriety. They need help before it gets worse. It's time to get the help you need, or to help someone who has relapsed, or is in danger of relapse.
Call us at 330-330-8777. We will answer all your questions and help you get the care you need for yourself or your loved one. We are open and accepting new patients in our detox, residential and outpatient programs.