For citizens unafraid to die –
Nov. 17, 2020 – Naloxone access matters during a pandemic more than ever. The opioid epidemic, which claims the lives of over 130 Americans daily, has drastically intensified as the country also deals with COVID-19. Nationally, suspected overdoses—not all of them fatal—spiked 18 percent this March compared with last year, and nearly 30 percent in April and 42 percent in May. In some jurisdictions, the numbers are even more alarming. King County, Washington, for example, which includes Seattle, has seen synthetic opioid-related fatalities skyrocket by 133 percent in the second quarter of this year compared with 2019. And with red flags all around, the American Medical Association recently released a grim statement cautioning Americans that “more than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality.”
It makes sense that in times of extreme stress, many Americans are turning to substance useto ease the pain. Experts point to pandemic-induced social isolation, dilution of social support groups, disruption in addiction recovery services, and the plunge in employment as possible reasons for the rapid uptick. And since the future of the pandemic remains uncertain, some projections estimate that over the next decade, COVID-19’s impact coupled with slow economic recovery could additionally claim over 150,000 Americans through drug use, alcohol, and suicide, on top of burgeoning daily overdose fatalities.