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How has the COVID-19 Pandemic Fueled Substance Abuse?

Depression and anxiety aren’t the only mental health problems people are dealing with due to the continuous stress and uncertainty of COVID-19. According to experts, this has resulted in an increase in the usage of stimulants and opioids.

Substance Use Statistics Before & After COVID-19

In June 2020, 13% of Americans admitted beginning or ramping up substance use to deal with stress or anxiety associated with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the ODMAP reporting system, overdoses countrywide rose by 18% in the first few months of the pandemic compared to the same period in 2019. In December, the American Medical Association stated that more than 40 U.S. states reported increased opioid-related mortality combined with persistent concerns for persons with substance use disorders. The pattern persisted until 2020, according to the AMA.

The Connection Between COVID-19 & Increased Substance Usage

Changes in drug availability are responsible for a rise in fatalities from illicit opioid usage; if heroin is difficult to obtain, someone may choose the far more potent fentanyl instead. However, specialists concur that pandemic-related stress, from monetary stress and isolation to anxiety, substantially contributed to the rise of substance abuse. People tend to make harmful decisions, such as abusing drugs and drinking more, because they feel more anxious and alone. Physical activity and social contacts, which help people build healthy relationships, haven’t always been safe or accessible, leading some people to start taking drugs or using them more frequently. Various pandemic-related factors also caused the spike in overdoses. Because there is no one around to contact 911 or provide naloxone, an opioid-reversal medication, addicts are more likely to pass away due to drug overdose. Additionally, some who previously had the temptation to test out illicit drugs have done so during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those living alone. This is because no one is present to criticize their drug usage or prevent them from doing so. In addition, COVID-19 has resulted in several layoffs, forcing people to have the difficult choice of finding other means of income to cover their living expenses. As a result, many have started dealing drugs and selling them to both regular drug users and others who are just starting out. Even worse, several people lost loved ones during to COVID-19 disease—and because of the lockdown, these individuals were still required to remain in isolation. Due to this, those already experiencing emotional pain and anguish have had increased concerns about their mental health. Consequently, many have turned to drugs to relieve stress.

Need Assistance with Substance Addiction?

Coping with substance addiction has never been more critical. Get in touch with MD M.A.T.T. immediately if you or someone you know needs assistance with substance addiction. We are a suboxone clinic in Owings Mills and have addiction doctors in Baltimore available for you. We provide a variety of addiction treatments, for alcohol and opioid addiction. Contact us now to learn more.