The New Normal: Drug overdose deaths at record high in US during pandemic
Overdose deaths in the U.S. soared to a record 93,000 last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
News 12’s Doug Geed and his guests Steve Chassman and Linda Ventura spoke specifically about the pandemic's impact on the opioid epidemic.
Chassman is the executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD). Ventura founded Thomas’ Hope Foundation, a treatment and counseling center - after her son died from an overdose.
While prescription painkillers once drove the nation’s overdose epidemic, they were supplanted first by heroin and then by fentanyl, a dangerously powerful opioid, in recent years. Fentanyl was developed to treat intense pain from ailments like cancer but has increasingly been sold illicitly and mixed with other drugs.
As more people turned to drugs to ease their pain, Ventura says there was less options available for treatment during the pandemic.
How did LICADD deal with the pandemic and who is mostly to blame for these problems?
Is the stigma that comes along with addiction fading?
What is the main drug that results in the most overdoses and who is most at risk?
AP Wire Services were used in this report.