The overdose death rates reached a record high in 2020. That is, the number of deaths was estimated to be 93,331 people in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The high levels of self-inflicted harm are a significant public health concern, especially as emergency department visits increase.
Factors That Increased Drug Overdose Deaths
Substance use increased in large spikes during shelter-in-place restrictions and lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While these measures may have decreased deaths from COVID-19, deaths caused by drug overdoses, murders, and unintentional injuries increased, according to death records processed by the National Center for Health Statistics and CDC data.
Lockdown procedures also made it challenging to access recovery resources, such as Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
Meanwhile, liquor stores, which were deemed essential businesses, remained open in some states such as Florida and Kentucky.
Mental Health Decline During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Mental health conditions also declined during lockdowns, contributing to many individuals’ already dysregulated mental health conditions with substance use disorders.
Isolation and a lack of structure, such as going to work and attending peer support groups, were significant contributors to the increase in severity of existing depression conditions.
These conditions, in turn, increase the risk of substance abuse.
The Role Of Opioids In Drug Overdose Deaths
Opioid-involved overdose deaths are a significant factor that increased the number of addictions during 2020.
Opioid use disorders involve a drug class that includes semi-synthetic opioids such as OxyContin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
The opioid crisis, including prescription opioids like Vicodin, comprised about 75 percent of the overdose deaths in a 12-month period.
Common opioids found in drug-related overdose deaths included illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
Overdose data also indicated that methamphetamine was found in some individuals who had died of an overdose, in addition to opioids.
Finding Help For Alcohol And Drug Addiction
This overdose epidemic has increased the stress on our health care systems, but help is still available.
Drugs that aid in opioid addiction include methadone, buprenorphine, and naloxone. Both of these medications are likely available at a drug rehab center near you.
Call our addiction treatment helpline for more information today.Article Sources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Drug Overdose Deaths
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Products - Vital Statistics Rapid Release - Provisional Drug Overdose Data
- National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) — Drug Overdose Mortality by State
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Overdose Death Rates