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Are Drug Overdoses Increasing from the COVID-19 Pandemic?

A man in quarantine struggling to control his alcohol abuse and risking overdose.
Overdose deaths are on pace to hit an all-time high as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the COVID-19 outbreak has turned everyone’s lives upside down, it’s been particularly challenging for people suffering from addiction. Before the pandemic, millions of people were managing their substance abuse. With community and state-wide shutdowns, though, many have lost their jobs and been isolated from their support systems. This has created a dangerous environment for increased overdose rates.

If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s important to understand how the pandemic is putting you at greater risk of overdose and the help that’s available if you need it.

How the Pandemic Has Impacted Overdose Rates

The pandemic has disrupted two of the key factors that help people manage their addiction cravings and maintain sobriety: routine and socialization.

Routine sets a predictable rhythm for your days, helping you avoid unstructured time and boredom. Unfortunately, the pandemic has disturbed the healthy habits and patterns people have built into their daily life. Instead of work, many are restless at home. And without in-person support meetings, even more are without their support system.

Those who are in addiction recovery or managing their substance cravings are finding it even harder to stay sober right now because of the increased isolation. Not only are people unable to attend their in-person support meetings, they’re also separated from friends and extended family they rely on for healthy socialization and support.

Increased restlessness and isolation caused by the pandemic have put overdose death rates on track to hit an all-time high this year. Before COVID-19 took the country by storm, all 50 states were struggling to contain the opioid epidemic. In 2019 alone, 71,000 overdose deaths were recorded.

Sadly, the pandemic has aggravated the opioid crisis. Not only is the country headed for significantly more overdose deaths this year, records show that 74,000 deaths occurred between April 2019 and March 2020, up nearly nine percent from the same time period the previous year.

The Effect of the Economy on Deaths of Despair

Beyond the restlessness, stress and isolation people are feeling, the economic downturn has also played a factor in deaths caused by alcohol, drugs and suicides, or “deaths of despair”. According to a report by Well Being Trust and the Robert Graham Center, behavioral health experts predict that an additional 150,000 deaths of despair will occur this year alone.

Many suicides are tied to alcohol or drug-related problems, which means they can be avoided entirely with the right addiction and mental health treatment. If you or a loved one is out of work and struggling with addiction, now is actually the best time to go to rehab.

Instead of sitting at home restless and anxious, treatment centers like The Raleigh House can put routine back into your days and help you prepare to recover physically, emotionally and financially once we’ve overcome the pandemic.

Find Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

We know how devastating the pandemic has been on millions of people. At The Raleigh House, we understand the hopelessness and pain you’re feeling. But you can overcome all that and grow stronger with the right addiction and mental health treatment.

Through evidence-based treatments and experiential therapies, we can help you work through the depression or anxiety you may be feeling and get you to the bottom of your substance abuse. Our “east to west” treatment approach will then help you discover and develop new and healthy routines and coping strategies that will aid your sobriety following treatment.

Don’t let this pandemic or any other challenges beat you. Contact our admissions team today to learn how to get started.

Call Now: 720-891-4657

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