The connection between stress and drug use is well established — and few would argue that living with the uncertainty, fear and loss brought by the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful. As a result, it’s not a surprise that drug use and overdose, including overdose deaths, have spiked.
Based on data from emergency responders, hospitals and police, the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program has tracked a sharp and steady rise in overdoses. In March, when the nation’s first shelter-in-place order was instituted, the overdose rate increased 18%. It was up 29% in April. In May – the most recent numbers available – there were 42% more overdoses. According to the American Medical Association’s Advocacy Resource Center, more than 35 states have reported increases in overdose deaths on opioids alone.
There are many reasons behind the escalating numbers. Besides increased stress, the pandemic has made it more difficult to access treatment