The Opioid Crisis meets the Covid-19 Pandemic: What Can Be Done?

Across the United States, there is an alarming overlap between substance abuse cases and the Covid-19 pandemic. The opioid crisis, in particular, is seeing rapid rises due to negative effects induced by the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak. In a recent analysis conducted by Fox News, factors such as social isolation, loss of jobs, and disruption of available treatment services caused by mandatory lockdowns and quarantines may have contributed to spikes in opioid addiction (Fox News).

Sadly, these opioid spikes are happening in varying degrees of nature, according to news outlets across America. In Portland, Oregon, KATU.com opioid overdose deaths increased by 70% in Spring 2020, during the peak months of the economic shutdown due to the pandemic (KATU 2 ABC).

In Syracuse, New York, opioid-induced deaths within Onondaga County skyrocketed, with Fentanyl, the powerful synthetic, being blamed for 86 county deaths in the first six months of 2020 (Syracuse.com).

Flagler County of the Daytona Beach, Florida area suffered up to 17 opioid overdose-related deaths due to the pandemic shutdowns in their region (The Daytona Beach News-Journal).

Overall, efforts are being made to analyze and prevent these significant overdose cases from growing further. In a recent study by medical research organization Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS), the National Safety Council (NSC) has conducted a national plan to address opioid misuse. This national plan in particular is designed to educate employers in recognizing addiction cases among their employees in the workplace. Within this same EHS report, the NSC also urges both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in including opioid overdose prevention as part of their respective Coronavirus disease recovery plans (EHS Daily Advisor).

From a Tigger House Foundation standpoint, the rising opioid cases amidst the Covid-19 crisis is staggering, to say the least. We share in the grief of families and friends everywhere who have lost loved ones to this substance abuse epidemic, worsened greatly by this global pandemic. Hence, we strongly recommend paying closer attention to anyone you know who is suffering from opioid or other substance use who are especially affected by Covid.

As these individuals remain under quarantine, try to keep constant communication with them via telephone, social media, or personal contact while social distancing. Maintaining contact will aid in monitoring their habits and preventing lapses in their addiction.

Tigger House stands with all medical first responders, doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, and other relief workers in this difficult time. We also commend the efforts of all opioid and substance use counselors for their vigilance and constant support.

We are here for your support and our Addiction Navigator can help get you or your loved one on a path to treatment. If you are seeking immediate assistance, Tigger House is always here for you. Please don’t be afraid to reach out! You can contact our Addiction Navigator at help@tiggerhouse.org or 732-865-1559.