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The epidemic of opioids was already a national crisis. Covid-19 can make things worse


CNN – In front of the COVID-19 Pandemic, The country was at risk of another public health crisis: Opioid epidemic..

is more than 2 million Americans Fighting opioid use disorders, and about 130 Americans on average Dies daily with overdose of opioids. Opioids account for the majority of deaths due to drug overdose, Major cause Of accidental death in the United States. This is a crisis that has been a priority for federal, state, and local officials for years.

Now, the coronavirus has confused all issues of life across the country, including efforts to combat the country’s opioid issue.

The walk-in clinic and syringe exchange program is over. Community support groups are in fact meeting.

Some people who suffer from substance abuse are homeless or imprisoned and unable to comply with social distance guidelines, while others remain isolated and at risk. On top of that, pandemics cause a lot of stress. This is the main cause of recurrence.

“This changing and weird world in which we live can motivate people to return to drug use,” says Dalia, director of drug use initiatives at public health organization Vital Strategies.・ Heller said. “And that brings great potential for overdose with it.”

Experts and supporters say they are concerned that the coronavirus pandemic is already exacerbating serious problems, as local authorities report a surge in overdose and deaths.

Local authorities report surge in overdose

County coroners, law enforcement agencies, and emergency responders across the country have reported calls for overdose and a surge in deaths-and are concerned that they are associated with Covid-19.

Franklin County, Ohio, reported 28 non-fatal overdose from last Friday night to Saturday night. Last Friday, the county had six deaths from overdose, and coroner Anahi Ortiz said: Facebook Post..

Ortiz I wrote in a Facebook post She announced on Sunday that Franklin County saw a 50% increase in fatal overdose from January to April 15. 62 people died of overdose in April alone, she wrote.

Niagara County in New York Reported last month Overdose of the drug surged 35% from January 1 to April 6 compared to the same period last year.

And Jacksonville, Florida, The fire and ambulance captain said the city had a 20% increase in excess calls between February and March.

Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said it was too early to determine if such reports were evidence of a larger trend.

While coroners and checkups are overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases and may lack the resources to track deaths from overdose, fatal and non-fatal overdose in the last few months No federal and state data are available yet.

“We don’t know,” Volkow said if more people are overdose in connection with Corvid-19. “In many cases, we probably don’t know.”

However, she predicts that there will be “absolutely” increased overdose in some communities.

Public health services are confusing

There are several reasons why experts are concerned about the potential coronavirus-related increase in opioid overdose.

For one thing, taking into account the pandemic, hazard mitigation programs across the country are experiencing diminished capacity, Heller said.

Many states define such services as mandatory for home orders, but some programs lack worker funding or personal protective equipment, which limits access or , I needed to reduce staff.

Fed has eased several regulations that reduce the risk of overdose and Covid-19 infections, Heller said.

For example, patients receiving medication for opioid use disorders often need to visit their providers daily for methadone dosages. However, such visits can expose both patients and healthcare professionals to Covid-19, so substance abuse and mental health services management (SAMHSA) Temporarily permitting A treatment program that provides patients with two to four weeks of methadone to take home.

on the other hand, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Is also relaxing telemedicine restrictions on prescribing buprenorphine, another drug-assisted treatment.

Still, those who lack health insurance or high-speed Internet access have barriers.

People are doing dangerous actions

Some communities have pending services, such as needle replacement programs, to treat addiction and prevent overdose. This causes people to take dangerous actions.

Jamie Favaro is the founder of NextDistro, a harm mitigation organization that provides syringes and naloxone for overdose recovery online and by mail. She said her organization received about five times more requests than usual because people couldn’t access sterile syringes. She said there’s been a fair amount of requests from people in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Recently, she said, a West Virginia client requested a syringe after sharing one needle with the other three for a week. According to the client, their local exchange program was closed and there was nowhere else to get a syringe. Other clients also contacted them, either reusing the syringes or breaking the needle on their skin, she said.

“I’m very afraid to see spikes in HIV and hepatitis C, and spikes in overdose in areas where needle replacement programs have ceased,” Fabaro said.

Fabaro also added that more harm reduction programs across the country are beginning to mail syringes and naloxone to people who use opioids. The county health department Increase in naloxone distribution Also to protect against overdose.

However, the coronavirus pandemic presents challenges there as well.

When someone overdoses on opioids, another person generally administers naloxone to reverse their effects. Due to their social distance, some individuals may not have anyone else to administer the life-saving medication.

Drug supply is affected

Another reason people are at increased risk of opioid overdose, according to experts, is related to how Covid-19 affected US illegal drug supply.

Illegal drugs Usually smuggled to the US Border restrictions brought by pandemics, though from other countries, could theoretically reduce access to narcotics in some areas, Folkow said.

On the surface, that may seem like a good thing, Heller said. However, due to limited supply, dealers Increase potency To meet demand, powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are mixed with drugs, exposing those who use them to the risk of overdose.

Poor access to drugs can lead users to look for other, unfamiliar sources of drug-or risk of withdrawal.

Stress can rekindle people

Finally, the social isolation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic leaves people particularly vulnerable.

A support group for people with opioid addiction and those in convalescence is currently under way at Zoom, Borkow said. But virtual contact is often not the same.

“One of the strongest interventions is to continue to treat people,” she said. “When you’re isolated, you may start to ask for some relief, such as starting taking drugs.”

Volvid said it will be some time before we see the true impact of Covid-19 on people suffering from opioid use disorders. But there are many reasons to worry already.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., Warner Media Company. all rights reserved.


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