Growing economic recession and the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected people's life causing the highest number of overdose deaths in the United States. Provisional data furnished by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that while overdose death was already at its peak, the number eventually increased after the pandemic hit worldwide. CDC (U.S. Govt agency) announces that overdose deaths are up 32% during the pandemic and can grow to 38% by the end of 2021.
Synthetic drugs and opioids (Fentanyl and morphine) are the primary cause of increased death compared to any other drug overdose in the States. With increasing drug overdoses cases, there is an urgent need to enhance the essential service quality to prevent health accidents and casualties.
Drug overdose and much more:
The widespread COVID-19 has impacted people's mental and physical health, primarily due to social distancing and significant safety measures. Nearly one in seven U.S. adults reported indulging in drug overdose due to poor mental health. Also, the pandemic has caused general stress that has increased the risk of drug overdose and provoked individuals to face challenges in different areas.
- More than 30% of U.S. patients who were prescribed opioids for chronic pain relief reportedly misused them.
- 8-10% of people consuming opioids as a painkiller developed resistance and opioid use disorder after six months of consumption.
- Among 40 states of the U.S. that saw a gradual decrease in drug overdose death in 2017-2018 saw a sudden rise in overdose death during the pandemic.
- Drug dependence and overdose depend on multiple factors ranging from poor mental and physical health to unhealthy lifestyles.
- Drug overdose has been a significant public health concern leading to unavoidable consequences and medical syndromes.
- Not all overdose leads to death, but it is essential to understand the risks associated with potent drugs such as morphine, heroin, and fentanyl.
Risks associated with drug overdose:
Risk factors can vary depending on the type of drug being overused or misused. However, some common risk elements associated with potent drugs are listed below.
- Individuals can suffer from opioid drug disorder when consuming for medical reasons.
- Injecting drugs in veins may lead to different diseases such as Hepatitis C & AIDS.
- Repeated doses can suppress the respiratory system and lead to serious health issues. Common drugs such as benzodiazepines, sedatives, hypnotics, and barbiturates can cause respiratory failure.
- Due to low socio-economic status, males are at a greater risk of drug overdose than women in the United States.
- More than 90,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in the last 12 months, as recorded by the authoritative body of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- The nation's COVID-19 condition has also worsened the drug overdose pandemic condition, resulting in increased deaths.
Prevention methods for drug overdose:
While COVID-19 has caused severe disruptions in every individual's life, it has led to increased drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Various prevention methods and recommendations are listed below to help people recover from a drug overdose.
- The distribution of naloxone and another antidote should be expanded to handle multiple cases of drug overdose.
- It is necessary to provide overdose prevention education to families and individuals coping with drug overdose issues.
- Awareness and access to health care services should be improved to provide treatment on time. Timely treatment can help provide better access to medical services.
- Individuals with a higher risk of drug overdose should be consulted early with counselors and public health professionals.
- For a more effective response, the detection of overdose outbreaks should be improved. It will help in spreading awareness among families and individuals.
- Multiple measures at the state, national and local levels are initiated to address the issues arising from COVI-19 and drug overdose.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also assessed overdose surveillance to plan effective strategies for addressing increasing drug overdose death cases in the U.S. amid COVID-19.
- Funds from different U.S. agencies are awarded to support health departments in providing quality care services to individuals with drug overdose issues.
COVID-19 pandemic marked the highest number of people suffering from a drug overdose and recorded the highest number of deaths in the United States due to the same. The uncontrollable pandemic situation has inspired people to debate over unforeseen impacts due to limited medical services. The provisional data derived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help in improving public health outcomes.