LOCKDOWN LIVES LOST: Public Officials Report Massive Spike in Overdose Deaths Caused by Lockdown-Related Despair
Government officials are reporting a huge uptick in overdose deaths due to the isolation and despair caused by the prolonged COVID-19 societal lockdown.
An official with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office says that the problem is worse than he has ever seen, with far more people turning to drugs throughout the pandemic.
“I think it’s an issue and it’s something that we are pulling out the stops and utilizing our people and our resources to try to combat,” Maj. John Budensiek said.
Maj. Budensiek’s office is trying to choke off of the supply so desperate individuals do not have the option to destroy their lives with dope during the pandemic, but it is an uphill battle.
“We know we’re in the middle of a pandemic. People are depressed, people are probably turning to drug and alcohol abuse and use more than they would before,” he said.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office reports that the county has seen 138 overdoses and 28 drug overdose deaths this year so far. At this point in 2019, there were 90 drug overdoses and 14 drug overdose deaths. This is a 65 percent increase in overdoses and a 100 percent increase in overdose deaths year over year.
It is not just in Florida where overdoses are spiking. The American Medical Association released an issue brief earlier this month reporting that 35 states are reporting an increase in opioid-related deaths during a time in which usage rates were already near record highs.
“The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports from national, state and local media suggesting increases in opioid-related mortality—particularly from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. More than 35 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder in counties and other areas within the state,” they wrote in their brief urging state and federal officials to take action to curb this alarming trend.
Caroline Franklin, a clinical therapist at Retreat Behavioral Health in Lake Worth Beach, believes that the anxiety caused by the pandemic mixed with the additional free time is a combination that has many Americans turning to drugs in order to cope.
“I think a lot of this especially right now we are seeing is coming from COVID-19,” Franklin said. “I think the anxiety is increasing which then sometimes turns people towards drugs.”
“A huge portion of people are socially isolated. Whether they were working before or not, an increased amount of depression and anxiety is being seen right now,” she added. “Everyone being home and not having as much interaction with people that they consider their support people, people they care about, can be really detrimental.”
When President Donald Trump said that the cure must not be worse than the disease, this is exactly what he was talking about. The death total caused by the shutdown could be larger than the COVID-19 death total by the time this is all over.