As officials around the country continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials in Pennsylvania face another rising public health epidemic- opioid overdoses and drug deaths. During the coronavirus pandemic, Pennsylvania’s addiction crisis continued, and the opioid epidemic claimed the lives of hundreds of Pennsylvanians.
The opioid deaths in Pennsylvania are staggering. In 2020, the state of Pennsylvania recorded 4,880 opioid overdose deaths. That number was an increase of 422 deaths from the 2019 total. These numbers do not take into account other addiction-related and drug-related deaths that took place during the same time period. The increase in numbers is in stark contrast to the previous years, which saw a 20 percent decrease in opioid deaths between the years of 2018 and 2020. This further illustrates the horrific impact that COVID-19 has had on the nation, with rising rates of addiction, mental health issues, overdose fatalities, thoughts of suicide, and other deaths of despair.
COVID-19 has created additional challenges for the state of Pennsylvania. While the numbers of individuals within the state needing mental health and addiction services have increased, and more individuals meet the criteria for care, there is a shortage of available clinicians and facilities to meet demand. This is not only an issue within the state of Pennsylvania but throughout areas and states across the nation.
There are some positives to look at, however, including the number of overdose reversals that occurred in the state during 2020 and the initiatives rolled out by the administration of Governor Tom Wolf. In 2020, there were over 18,000 overdose reversals that occurred in Pennsylvania, thanks to first responders and the public utilizing opioid overdose reversal drugs such as Narcan and Naloxone. Due to the opioid deaths in Pennsylvania, the state also has an Opioids Command Center, staffed by 13 different state agencies, that has continued with initiatives to aid access to care and get opioid overdose reversal drugs like Narcan into the hands of more first responders, healthcare organizations, community organizations, and the public.
As COVID-19 is slowly brought to a manageable level throughout the state, the COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, and the state moves away from isolation via shutdowns and closures, the hope is that more individuals in need of services for addiction and mental health will be able to access necessary care and support. Ongoing initiatives that were taking place pre-COVID-19, such as educational, awareness, and stigma-breaking campaigns, will hopefully create a more supportive environment where individuals and families in need can access vital and life-saving addiction treatment, care, and support.
Here at Innovo Detox, we offer essential detox and medical stabilization services for individuals suffering from opioid addiction and opioid use disorder, as well as other substance-related issues like alcoholism, substance use disorder, and addiction to alcohol and benzodiazepines. With our 24/7 medical care and 7-day-a-week clinical support, we can safely and effectively help someone through withdrawals, stabilize, and find the next appropriate step for them in an individualized treatment and recovery plan.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.