More than 6 million cases of the coronavirus have been reported across the world and at least 375,000 have died directly from this virus.
In response to the highly contagious illness and to flatten the curve, countries across the world took precautions such as shutting down businesses and implementing stay-at-home orders. While these precautionary measures have helped to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, they have also led to other concerning secondary issues.
How COVID-19 Is Impacting Overdoses in Florida
An unforeseen consequence of the coronavirus pandemic may be an increase in the number of drug overdose deaths. Places across the United States are reporting a sudden and drastic increase in overdose calls and deaths since the pandemic first hit hard in March. The fire and rescue chief of Jacksonville, Florida reported a 20% increase in calls about overdoses from February to March alone this year, and for Duval county as a whole, there has been a 25% increase in overdose calls from mid-March to May of this year compared to the same time in 2019.1,2
Similarly, in Pasco they are reporting more than 400 calls for drug overdoses since the beginning of the year.3
A large number of these call are believed to involve opioids. Because of dangerous and potent opioids like fentanyl in circulation, getting Floridians into opioid addiction treatment
sooner rather than later may be able to prevent these numbers from getting much higher.
While there is no way to say for sure that these Florida overdoses are because of coronavirus, many believe that COVID-19 is to blame for several reasons. High levels of stress, anxiety, loneliness, depression, and financial problems are strong factors that often lead people to drugs and alcohol as they struggle to find more productive ways of coping. People who have previously completed treatment at a Florida rehab
and were sober may have relapsed during quarantine, but their bodies are no longer equipped to take the same dosage of drugs that they were previously used to. People or their loved ones who are showing signs of overdose
may be too afraid to seek medical attention for fear of catching the coronavirus. Along with these factors, some preventive measures for overdoses may be shut down or running limited services since the shutdown. Together, all of these factors spell trouble for Floridians now and likely in the coming months.
Florida Drug Overdose Deaths Post-COVID-19
Unfortunately, just because Florida and the United States have started reopening, it doesn’t mean that these overdose problems are going to go away quickly. This may only be the beginning of Florida overdoses because of coronavirus. Disruptions in the drug trade during shut down could lead to cheap, but highly potent drugs flooding the market after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.4
For Floridians who were rationing their drugs during quarantine or only able to find weaker drugs available, this deadly combination could spell disaster for many months to come until the drug trade levels back out. Especially for those who may have relapsed during quarantine and are no longer accustomed to such strong drugs, a Florida PHP
or other treatment program could save their life.
If you or someone you care about is abusing drugs or alcohol, do not wait to get help. With substance abuse, your life or the life of your loved one could be in danger. To learn more about Banyan Pompano or to get started on the journey to sobriety, reach out to us today at 888-280-4763.
- CNN - The opioid epidemic was already a national crisis. Covid-19 could be making things worse
- Health News Florida - Free NARCAN, Drug Disposal Kits Available As Overdose 911 Calls Increase In Duval
- Patch - 13 Tampa Bay Residents Indicted After 6 Opioid Overdose Deaths
- Chicago Tribune - The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the illegal drug trade