Drug overdose deaths hit a new high in 2020, with over 100,000 people dying across the U.S. – driven largely by the pandemic, which negatively impacted people in many ways. To put that in perspective, that’s over 10 people dying every hour.
This was a 30% increase from 2019 – and things are only getting worse as time goes on.
Most of these deaths can be attributed to opioids, and more specifically, synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Our Medical Director at IHAT, Dr. Eric Jones, recently spoke with 13News Now on the impact of the numbers and who’s being impacted.
“It’s kind of scary because the numbers are going up. What we’d like to see is this kind of level-off and the numbers go down, and in order to do that, it’s education and getting people help. I think the pandemic had a lot to do with it. The availability of drugs, the cost,” he said. “You throw in the fentanyl which is becoming more prevalent because the reality is, drug-dealers don’t care. They’re about making a buck. They don’t care what they’re doing to people””
For Dr. Jones, his role plays into something bigger – with his brother being affected by drugs and alcohol 15 years ago, when programs such as the one at IHAT weren’t readily available.
“It has a personal meaning to me because I had a brother who I watched drugs and alcohol destroy him, and this kind of program was not available when he went through what he went through.”
According to the CDC, opioid-related deaths accounted for about 75% of drug-related deaths through April of 2021. In 2014, the U.S. was reporting fewer than 50,000 fatal overdoses, which means that in less than a decade, the numbers have doubled.
The pandemic has intensified the opioid epidemic in a variety of ways. Increased isolation, complicating treatment, and putting a strain on public resources are just some of the ways. For many, it has made the difficult step of seeking out help that much more difficult.
Leah Hancock, Executive Director at Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center, says that it doesn’t have to be difficult.
“You come in, you’ll meet with a nurse, you’ll meet with Dr. Jones and you’ll also meet with a licensed counselor for assessment, and then they take you from there to create a care plan for you to help start your road to recovery.”
And if a loved one doesn’t see that they need to get help, it’s important to take that first step for them. “
“Don’t be afraid to reach out. That first step is to step up for your loved ones.”
If you’re ready to take that first step, either for yourself or a loved one, call IHAT today: (757) 938-3654 or visit our contact page for more information.
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