How the Recent Pandemic Worsened the Opioid Epidemic

Long before “COVID” was a term known by millions around the globe, an opioid crisis was sweeping the nation. In 2018, the number of drug overdose deaths across the U.S. was four times higher than in 1999. Nearly 70 percent of those deaths involved opioids.

Following the recent pandemic, the research now shows that there was an escalation of the opioid epidemic within an already strained healthcare system.

While recent events are shining a light on opioid addiction, for those impacted, the consequences of drug abuse are anything but new. It’s time to take proactive action in order to save a life today!

Opioid Users Face Both Direct and Indirect Risks

As recently reported on the JAMA Health Forum, it is believed that the recent pandemic increased the risk of poor outcomes for patients with opioid use disorders with or without contracting COVID-19.

While focusing on direct risks, opioid users are believed to be more vulnerable to the coronavirus due to respiratory and pulmonary variables. Since COVID is associated with significant lung complications and opioids slow breathing, oxygen deficiency could result among those infected. From concerns surrounding triage bias and the availability of ventilators to higher rates of homelessness, resulting in unsafe places to self-isolate, these individuals remain vulnerable.

In addition, even if someone suffering from an opioid addiction does not personally contract COVID-19, it is believed that the recent global crisis increased risk for opioid-associated injury. For example, in recent years, public health increased access to naloxone — an overdose reversal medication. However, since the pandemic isolated members of the community and overwhelmed first responders, opportunities for potentially life-saving interventions diminished.

Seeking Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

“As the number of opioid overdoses and deaths increase at an alarming rate, we must take action. It’s time to call this what it is — an emergency. — Gov. Doug Ducey

While COVID has brought some level of increased awareness of the opioid epidemic, long before the pandemic began, this public health issue was a nightmare for so many families across America. Before the first case of COVID was reported in the United States, opioids were taking the lives of 130 Americans each day. Those in rural areas are particularly vulnerable, as these communities experience a 45 percent higher rate of opioid-related overdose deaths compared to those in urban areas.

Read moreValley Oaks Receives Over a Million Dollars to Help in Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Rural Counties

Opioid addiction is complex and requires custom care. For example, research shows that the connection between opioid abuse and depression is bi-directional. Opioid abuse is also linked to higher rates of anxiety, bipolar disorders, PTSD, and other mental health disorders.

This means that if you or your loved one have received a dual diagnosis, a combination of therapy and medical interventions will likely be necessary to achieve long-term sobriety and a greater quality of life.

Just some of the services available include:

Ready to begin your road to recovery? We’re here for you. Contact one of our ten Indiana locations or reach out to our after-hours emergency line today!

Getting Started

A Bright Future Starts at Valley Oaks

Walking through the doors of a center like Valley Oaks for the first can be tough. We work hard to make sure that your visit is easy, streamlined, and professional while still addressing your needs. The reality is that more folks are seeking help than you’d ever imagine, and for good reason. More than 80% of folks that seek help for common mental health ailments see significant improvement. Your journey to life’s peaks can start right now… and start right here… at Valley Oaks.