Drug Overdoses During the Coronavirus Pandemic




In spite of a lack of apparent resources, therapy through a global pandemic for people with substance use disorders (SUDs) is possible—even if it does not look the same as before. COVID-19 has streamlined a number of treatment options to make them even more accessible than pre-pandemic.

Simultaneously, the epidemic has also acted as a catalyst in many ways for an unprecedented new wave of overdoses in the United States. In spite of the readily available options for therapy, many areas have reported upticks in overdoses in the past six month quarantine-period—indicative of unsafe behavior caused by restlessness while staying at home.

If you or a loved one are faced with a potential overdose situation in this pandemic, remember that treatment is still widely available.


How COVID-19 Has Contributed to Drug Overdose Cases

Drug overdoses in May 2020 documented a reported 42% increase when compared to the same report from a year earlier. These findings were soon corroborated in July, when the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program revealed that there was a clear correlation between these cases and the coronavirus.

This is a direct consequence of a number of different changes in day-to-day life. For one, fewer screenings—or most testing at all—for substances has subsided as fears over spreading the virus worsen. Because of the virus’ easy transmission through many types of bodily contact, tests (breathalyzer for alcohol, urine/saliva for drugs) to screen for substances have largely been labeled unsafe.

The realities of COVID-19 have also disabled almost any group activity; no meetings, no support groups, and an overall lack of access to in-person help has made it much harder for people to seek treatment. Likewise, the formerly standard inpatient rehabilitation facilities and other such essential steps on the road to prevention of relapse have been put on hold (with some having disbanded entirely).

Many individuals are at risk of losing their jobs through the pandemic, and others face severe boredom or loneliness that produces an overall feeling of uneasiness—lending itself to an increased susceptibility to drug addiction.


Potential Means to Treat Potential Substance Abuse Today

In spite of the dramatic differences in how we live our lives today, some instances may not change. If you fear a loved one around you has overdosed, it is important to stay calm and call 911. Overdoses are tricky to decipher without the pertinent knowledge of what substance was abused and the hallmark signals of its potentially fatal effects on the body.

Although some cases may require attentive support at home and the advice of a knowledgeable first response dispatcher, others cases may urgently need the help of hospital care. However, there are a number of measures one can take in order to prevent overdose from happening in the first place, including:


Inpatient Care

Although many inpatient options became unavailable through quarantine restrictions, many are still open to those who need therapy—albeit with some coronavirus-mandated changes. If you think you or a loved one are susceptible to drug abuse in the imminent future, inpatient options, depending on the proximity of one of them, are some of the most effective options as far as dissuading potential instances in the future. 


Virtual Options

They are nowhere near the same as in-person meetings, yes, but there have been a vast number of accommodations made to streamline how efficient online programs can be. For one, individual virtual therapy is made accessible to anyone with an internet connection, meaning that individuals have the chance to seek therapy in spite of social distance restrictions. And although it is notably less satisfying, most group therapy programs have shifted to an online format. Many participants remark that the experience online in no way mirrors in-person therapy, but that it is still worthwhile with a positive attitude.


Dignity Healing is a nationally accredited rehab center for men and women. Call us today to learn more about our programs.

Break free from the struggle of addiction. We’re here to help you or a loved one. Reach out to us any time, day or night. Confidential. Call: (844) 978-1524



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