You Call That An Epidemic? –
March 27, 2020 – With countries closing their borders and movement restricted, recovery advocates are worried that opioid use will become more dangerous. If supplies diminish, opioid dealers will likely be tempted to cut drugs with more dangerous substances, like fentanyl, even more than they do already. In an ideal world, this would lead to more people seeking treatment — but for many, the cost of the medication is prohibitive.
“The people who were getting help aren’t really getting any help right now at all. Put that on top of trying to stay clean, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a day,” said Danny Pont, who is part of an opioid treatment program in Rhode Island.
“I suspect there will be a lot of relapses — and with a lot of relapses, there’s going to be an uptick in overdoses,” Pont added.
Nearly half a million Americans have died from overdosing on drugs in the last decade, and preliminary CDC data suggests another 69,000 people died in 2019. The opioid epidemic was declared a national emergency in 2017, but advocates from across the country told BuzzFeed News they’ve never received the resources needed to fully address the crisis. Gary Mendell, founder of advocacy group Shatterproof, estimated the cost of adequate funding to address the crisis at around $50 billion a year. The federal government only spent around $7.4 billion in 2018.