4 potential reasons the pandemic is exacerbating the opioid crisis

Many counties nationwide have recently experienced a dangerous uptick in opioid-related overdoses, a trend that is getting worse as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily processes, according to upstate New York radio station WRVO.

Here are four potential causes for the significant increase in opioid overdoses:

  1. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains for street drugs like cocaine and heroin, so many people who use these drugs have found alternatives from dealers. These alternatives are often mixed with more fentanyl, which makes them stronger and significantly more dangerous.

  2. As many in-person medical appointments have transitioned to virtual visits to slow the spread of COVID-19, some patients affected by opioid use disorder cannot connect as well with their healthcare providers. Telehealth visits make it easier for patients to hide relapses, and naloxone training may not come across as clearly.

  3. Social distancing has brought about feelings of isolation in many Americans, which is a common trigger that could lead to relapse or overdose.

  4. Unemployment has been linked with higher levels of opioid abuse, a problem that persists as many Americans who lost their job due to the pandemic are still out of work.

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