The Opioid Crisis Has Intensified During Coronavirus Pandemic

in Detox
Published Sep 9, 2020
opioid overdoses 2020

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported the opioid crisis, already serious, has intensified during the coronavirus pandemicOverdose deaths continue to rise alongside increasing stress due to the economic and emotional effects of COVI9-19.

Opioid crisis

Before the pandemic, we were already experiencing a staggering number of overdose deaths which have continued on an upward trend over the last few decades (below). Just last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a staggering 72,000 Americans died of drug-related overdoses.

CDC opioid overdoses 2020Now, states nationwide report rising fatalities according to new data collected by the Wall Street Journal. 

There are a number of reasons why deaths are increasing: people in recovery are struggling to manage stress levels as less in-person support is available. People with substance use disorder are experiencing increased isolation due to social distancing. AA and other mutual-aid meetings have ceased and changed to online meetings, which significantly reduces the connection needed by many to sustain recovery. Some treatment providers have changed to telemedicine, significantly reducing the amount of addiction treatment available.


In a recent CDC survey, 13 percent of respondents reported that they were using increasing amount of substances to cope with stress related to the pandemic.

Clinical services manager at the non-profit group HIPS, in Washington DC — who provide services for people who use drugs — told the WSJ,

It’s a pretty stark reality here. We’ve lost a lot of clients, a lot of patients.”

Summary of key points

  • The WSJ conducted a worldwide survey on overdose deaths and 21 of the 30 countries surveyed showed an increase in deaths from last year.
  • States in the US showing increases include California, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Nevada.
  • Opioid hotspots, like New England and Appalachia, are also reporting increases in overdose deaths.
  • Increases in fentanyl and the increased use of methamphetamines are thought to be contributing to the worsening problem, especially in Southern Nevada, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
  • Public health officials attribute increases in the death toll to COVID and subsequent relapses.
  • People who use drugs are advised to not use them alone and carry opioid reversal drug naloxone.

At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we bring compassion to the commotion. Peace to the pain. Empowerment to the powerless. If you or someone you know needs support with addiction problems, bring us your battle. Call us today and take the best, first step towards recovery: 720-704-1432