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COVID-19 Impact on the Overdose Epidemic

2020 has been strongly impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic which has affected our global, national, state, and local communities. We are currently seeing a rise in substance use and opioid deaths due to unforeseen isolation and social restrictions including those related to recovery, treatment, and support. The situation has been described as an "epidemic within an epidemic" or a “collision of crises”, as states begin to strategize on how they will combat the compounding COVID and Opioid Epidemic. The most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on August 14, 2020 indicated that "Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation".The CDC also released a report earlier this year indicating a 4.8% increase in drug overdose deaths in 2019, with a record 70,980 deaths. The current circumstances, especially unemployment due to mass layoffs, has drastically caused this number to rise as of Q2 2020. As of March 2020, in comparison to March 2019, there was a 18% increase, followed by a 29% increase in April and a 42% increase in May.

The State of Mental Health in America Report:

Read more here
A message from the FDA:“Even during this global pandemic, we have continued to prioritize addressing the opioid crisis,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “Today’s action can help further raise awareness about this potentially life-saving treatment for individuals that may be at greater risk of an overdose and those in the community most likely to observe an overdose. We will use all available tools to address this crisis, and we know efforts to increase access to naloxone have the potential to put an important medicine for combatting opioid overdose and death in the hands of those who need it most – those at increased risk of opioid overdose and their friends and family.”The FDA is now requiring that recommendations for prescribing naloxone with opioid prescriptions, as well as benzodiazepines, and medicine to treat OUD (i.e. buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone), be added to the prescribing information on the label. The FDA is further working to increase availability of naloxone nationwide. STATE, REGIONAL & LOCAL UPDATES
The following figures were provided by Debra Babin, M.P.H., North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and highlight data in Florida related to suspected overdoses, fatal overdoses, and Narcan administrations. From January 1 – June 30, 2020 there were12,674 Suspected ODs, 771 Fatal ODs, and 6,895 Narcan Administrations reported.


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