Overdoses worse than ever before

If the COVID-19 pandemic has made you feel as though the virus is the overwhelming challenge for Ohio, you are not alone. Most people have pushed the state’s other woes to the backs of their minds. But coronavirus is not the only deadly plague raging through the state, and it is time we return our attention to another killer.

“Overdose deaths were worse than they’ve ever been, “said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. “It was as though we hadn’t done anything at all.”

Yost’s Scientific Committee on Opioid Prevention and Education reported more people died from opioid overdoses in spring 2020 than ever before in Ohio.

Of course, the pandemic may have had something to do with those horrific numbers. Scott Osiecki, president and CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, told another media outlet the stress of the pandemic had caused many people to self-medicate, perhaps with drugs or alcohol.

“People think they might be buying like a Xanax or Percocet from somebody, but actually we are finding out that’s fentanyl,” Osiecki told a Cleveland television station.

Combine self-medication with the effects of isolation on addicts who may have become separated from their support network during the pandemic (and its accompanying financial hardships), and the problem is compounded. Loneliness and isolation can be deadly for someone who is barely keeping afloat.

Officials have had their attention turned to a massive public health problem, and rightly so. But there are still plenty of organizations out there trying desperately to fight the other killer that never left us. If you know someone who may be struggling with addiction, or to remain in recovery, reach out. Listen, let them know they are not alone, and help them find resources that are still available. We are all in this fight together, too.


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