Drug Overdoses During COVID-19

Reports have shown a spike in drug overdoses during the start of the pandemic. Why is this happening? And what can be done to prevent this?

Overdose-related cardiac arrests rose sharply during April 2020, reaching 74.1 per 100 000 EMS activations (123.4% above baseline) by May 4. Overdose-related cardiac arrests subsequently decreased but remained elevated, reaching 48.7 per 100 000 EMS activations (53.7% above baseline) by July 27. Overall, through August 1, overdose-related cardiac arrests in 2020 totaled 49.5 per 100 000 EMS activations (48.5% above baseline).”

Why the Giant Spike in Overdoses?

The majority of US citizens are staying at home and working from home. On the side of prescribed medications, most physicians are doing facetime or zoom appointments unless it’s a serious emergency, or needs to be hands-on.

Some patients are not being fully assessed and prescribed their medication. Pain and sleep medications can easily be overused or misdiagnosed leading to drug overdoses.

More social isolation leads to more solitary use of drugs. Usually, drugs are seen as something done at parties or with groups but with gatherings being banned it’s harder to catch overdoses. Not required to actually go into a place of employment opens and easier access to drugs.  

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