Although it seemed for a time that the nationwide opioid epidemic was starting to get under control, the isolation and social disconnection due to the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown America’s opioid crisis into overdrive. Throughout towns, cities, counties, and states throughout America, the number of fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses are rising, and more and more individuals are in need of detox and treatment for opioid addiction. Although America’s opioid crisis is an ongoing national story, regularly covered in the news media and in publications, because opioids are often prescribed, there is still some concern that people do not know what to look for regarding if they are developing a physical dependency to, substance use disorder with, or full-blown [...]
The dangers of heroin and other synthetic opioid painkillers are well known. For over a decade, America has been waging war against the opioid epidemic, until COVID-19 the worst public health crisis in the country. However, over the last several years, America’s dangerous relationship with opioids has taken an even more deadly turn with the rise in use and misuse of the powerful drug fentanyl. As the numbers of non-fatal and fatal drug overdoses increase annually, spiking with the most drug-related overdoses in a 12-month period during the coronavirus pandemic ending in May 2020 (the latest available statistics), the main culprit taking the lives of thousands of Americans is no longer heroin or prescription pills like OxyContin, but rather fentanyl. [...]
Addiction is a chronic, progressive illness that can be fatal if left untreated. Most individuals that suffer from addiction and substance use disorder know they are in need of help and that their lives are out of control and fairly unmanageable way before they ever begin searching for help.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the United States, and the country deals with the civil unrest and racial inequality issues boiling over after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we must deal with these issues head-on without forgetting about another public health epidemic that continues to plague America: The opioid crisis.