Humans are not robots. Lockdowns cause more problems healthwise than help.
Preliminary reports and numbers indicate in 2020, over 90,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S., an increase of almost 30%:
The estimated 93,331 deaths from drug overdoses last year, a record high, represent the sharpest annual increase in at least three decades, and compare with an estimated toll of 72,151 deaths in 2019, according to provisional overdose-drug data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“That is a stunning number even for those of us who have tracked this issue,” said Brendan Saloner, associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Our public health tools have not kept pace with the urgency of the crisis.”
Brandon Marshall, a public health researcher at Brown University, said, “COVID has greatly exacerbated the crisis” of drug overdoses in America.
The data shows fentanyl led the charge:
Fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin, is now frequently mixed into other widely used illicit drugs, often when the user is unaware. “Fentanyl is poisoning our drug supply,” said Monique Tula, executive director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition, an organization that advocates for people who use drugs and trains the harm reduction workforce.
An estimated 57,550 people died of overdoses from synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, an increase of more than 54% over 2019, according to Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. “Definitely fentanyl is the driving factor,” he said. Overdose deaths from opioids overall rose nearly 37%, according to the CDC data.
I’m not always 100% into causation. Overdose deaths began increasing in the fall of 2019. However, it is hard to ignore that the overdose deaths escalated in March 2020 when the lockdowns began.
Methamphetamine and cocaine deaths also rose during the pandemic.
Governments did not think about how the harsh restrictions would affect those with mental health issues or drug addicts.
Those in treatment for drug addiction saw their treatment either change or stop. People who wanted treatment found themselves at a brick wall:
Tiffany Sales had been on and off drugs for her entire adult life when she went into a casino bathroom early one morning in the first week of January this year in Atlantic City, N.J., her hometown. The 52-year-old former concessions operator was found dead later, a crack pipe in her hand, said her sister, Lisa C. Oliver.
Ms. Sales had weaned herself off drugs several times, and held down supervisory-level jobs when she was clean, said Dr. Oliver, an instructional designer for a healthcare system and a grief counselor who lives in Atlanta. Normally in only sporadic touch with family members, Ms. Sales had reached out early in the pandemic. “She left a voice mail saying, with all that’s going on, I want to keep in touch,” Dr. Oliver recalled.
Sales is not the only one:
Jordan McGlashen died of a drug overdose in his Ypsilanti, Michigan, apartment last year. He was pronounced dead on May 6, the day before his 39th birthday.
“It was really difficult for me to think about the way in which Jordan died. He was alone, and suffering emotionally and felt like he had to use again,” said his younger brother, Collin McGlashen, who wrote openly about his brother’s addiction in an obituary.
Jordan McGlashen’s death was attributed to heroin and fentanyl.
I wonder how many started taking drugs because of the lockdowns. Businesses had to close, leading to job losses and a lack of money. People lost their homes or apartments. The lockdowns kept people away from family and loved ones. Social isolation consumed even the mentally healthiest of people:
“It’s about isolation, about disruption in life, and maybe exacerbation of mental-health symptoms,” said Adam Maslowski, clinical coordinator for outpatient services for treatment provider Phoenix House in Long Island City, N.Y., who shifted to telehealth services early in the pandemic but also kept a walk-in clinic open.
“A lot of people love Zoom, but there is something about face to face contact,” he said. The provider has offered both in-person and virtual care since last summer.
I’m a hermit. I do not keep my severe social anxiety a secret. It’s debilitating and exhausting, but even I craved human connection during the lockdown. Human contact is essential. I love that I could meet with my therapist and psychiatrist on Zoom, but I feel so much better since we resumed in-person appointments.
The fact is you do not have to have mental issues or drug addiction for an almost year-long lockdown to affect your health.
We all knew the lockdowns would contribute to these deaths. The CDC preliminary findings confirm our worst fears.DONATE
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