Opioid Abuse Has Increased Dramatically during the Coronavirus Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic has changed the normal ‘way of living’ of nearly all of the people living in affected countries around the world. Although the current health crisis is nothing like problems faced previously by the medical community, the US also had several public health issues prior to its beginning, such as opioid abuse and overdose.

Currently, the transmission and spread of SARS-CoV-2 is the biggest cause of concern in all major countries. While ending the pandemic is important for all countries individually and collectively, other existent health problems should not be forgotten.

In fact, some health experts argue that the pandemic can also be used to highlight other major issues that the world may be facing at the moment which did not manage to get the same level of attention or those that may appear in the future.

For instance, some of the primary public health problems in the US, as well as other countries around the globe, include the rising number of cases of obesity and associated health issues, and the prevalence of antibiotic resistance, which can become a much bigger problem in the future.

One issue which is most prevalent in the US comparatively is opioid abuse. A recent report by the Wall Street Journal showed that even though the problem has been present in the country for years now, the incidents of its abuse and related deaths are rising.

All states in the US have reported that opioid-use related overdosing cases and deaths have especially increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is also why the American Medical Association has issued a statement regarding opioid-related deaths in the country.

According to present data, opioid use-related deaths are nothing new in the US and the country has been facing the issue for the past three decades. The first wave of opioid use has been estimated to start in the 1990s.

During the first wave, Vicodin was the most popular opioid used for the purpose of relieving pain. At the moment, the country is facing a third wave and there are many more options for opioid use than ever before, which may make the wave deadlier than previous ones.

RELATED: Flu Shots May Help Decrease Coronavirus Mortality Rates

Although the number of deaths caused by opioid abuse has decreased gradually over the years, the coronavirus pandemic can change that.

Due to the restrictions imposed to control the coronavirus transmission and the overall general impact of the crisis on people’s lives, many are turning towards opioids or other drugs to cope with the rising levels of stress and uncertainty.

Additionally, there are also fewer number of services and facilities for those who are fighting drug and opioid addiction, which further elevates the risk of death due to opioid overdose.

Since the risk of the virus is still high and the pandemic is likely to last for several more months, experts suggest people dealing with opioid abuse to not delay any health-related visits out of fear of contracting the coronavirus.

Secondly, in order to curb feelings of loneliness and high-stress levels, it is important to stay connected and talk with any family member or a friend.

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