Overdoses at a record high, how the pandemic has impacted the epidemic


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The variety of People dying from overdoses is at a file excessive throughout this pandemic. In response to the CDC, there have been greater than 81,000 overdoses from Could 2019 to Could 2020. That’s 18% increased than the yr earlier than.

“Those that overdose are usually people who’re unemployed and stay alone or stay in poverty — so it is sensible that we might see a rise,” defined Michelle Calvert, COMCARE’S Director of High quality and Strategic Innovation.

Dr. Gregory Lakin with the Heart for Change has been working in habit remedy for greater than 20 years, he says the pandemic created an ideal storm for individuals. “With the added anxiousness and stress and isolation, after all, there are extra individuals who have turned to medication,” mentioned Dr. Lakin. “There are extra people who have turned to alcohol and so we now have to cope with that and it’s going to be at a degree by no means seen earlier than as properly.”

Overdoses associated to opioids made up the overwhelming majority of overdose instances. “It isn’t as a consequence of a rise in prescription drugs — it’s as a consequence of this artificial fentanyl, carfentanil, these items that present up in pressed drugs,” Dr. Lakin added. “They’re unlawful counterfeit drugs and so they’re everywhere in the road now,” he mentioned.

When the pandemic began, there was a lower in individuals reaching out for assist with each habit and psychological well being. “That was actually persistent through the pandemic and after we noticed individuals coming within the door — we tended to see individuals who had been simply sort of extra mentally ailing, simply sort of sicker usually,” Calvert mentioned.

“I imply individuals have averted medical care as a complete throughout this time and so I feel we’re seeing that now it’s beginning to present itself,” Dr. Lakin said.

Whereas vaccines are providing aid within the pandemic, efforts to fight deaths of despair brought on by the stresses of the pandemic are simply ramping up. “We’ll be engaged on this downside for years to return,” Dr. Lakin mentioned.

“We anticipate that psychological well being wants have gone up. We anticipate that they’ll proceed to go up, and there can be an elevated want for providers,” Calvert mentioned. “We actually encourage individuals to succeed in out for assist and never simply attain out for assist however discover if others need assistance as properly — so ask individuals how they’re doing, join them to sources, it’s not nearly you, nevertheless it’s about how one can assist others too.”

Additionally, anybody needing assist with drug habit can name the Sedgwick County COMCARE habit remedy providers at (316) 660-1100.

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