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The Opioid Crisis Worsens Amid Pandemic

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It appears we are emerging from the pandemic. But another crisis, one that existed before and will continue after the coronavirus, rages on in communities around the US. The opioid crisis in California and across this country has only quickened its pace during the pandemic.

In short, with “the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the nation’s opioid epidemic has grown into a much more complicated and deadly drug overdose epidemic”. [1] Ocean Hills Recovery, California opioid rehab, offers support to those struggling during this time.

The Compounding Impacts of the Pandemic

The pandemic ushered in anxiety and grief. It has created isolation and financial worries. With so many changes in our homes and workplaces, there is an ongoing threat of uncertainty. These forces threaten people living with a substance use disorder (SUD) and have even pushed others to develop one. [2]

In December 2020, the Centers for Disease Control reported what is described as “substantial increases in drug overdose deaths across the United States”. The organization attributed the uptick to the rapid and pervasive use of drugs with synthetic opioids (excluding methadone) and specifically the illicitly manufactured product, fentanyl. [3]

In the most up-to-date data, the CDC reported the acceleration of drug overdose deaths had the largest spike from March 2020 to May 2020. This timeframe coincides with the implementation of widespread shutdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  What that means is that while one illness was being throttled, another one was gassed.

Key Factors that are Exacerbating Overdose Death

For some, the unprecedented economic interruption coupled with massive unemployment has created a financial crisis. Any financial uncertainty has profound effects on sobriety. [4] Many people report turning to drugs during periods of economic downturns to relieve stress from work or to find comfort after losing a job or social status. [5]

For others, the mandated social isolation, which has lasted for months, has infringed on social and emotional wellness and connectivity. More people have overdosed alone. This due in part because there was no one within close proximity to help by calling 911 or to administer the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone. [2] The isolation caused by the pandemic also interrupted some illicit drug supply chains. Some people who had a relationship with a dealer turned to new dealers they didn’t know and unfamiliar drugs. Access to healthcare providers and medication also had tremendous impacts. Some people were too scared to leave home. Others found providers were not offering services. These social changes have come with unforeseen and often deadly consequences. 

And finally, general uncertainty has been caused by changes at home, work, school, and by the presence of the new, unknown illness.  Stress is a common trigger for those at risk of relapse.

The Opioid Crisis in California

The CDC reported a changing geographic distribution of overdose deaths that specifically involved synthetic opioids. The largest percentage increases occurred in states in the western United States. [3]

Historically, the CDC reports a concentration of deaths from an overdose involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl in the 28 states found east of the Mississippi River. In that region, the heroin market has primarily been dominated by white powder heroin, which can be easily mixed with fentanyl.

But during the pandemic, states on the western side of the country experienced wild spikes in the presence of the deadly drug. The largest increases in synthetic opioid deaths were documented in ten western states, which experienced a 98.0% increase. California is among those states with massive spikes. [3]

Overdoses Persist: Reach out for Help from California Opioid Rehab

Even as we emerge from the pandemic, there is much to be seen about how we will recover from the impacts on sobriety and how and where drugs are trafficked. It is likely more people will be looking for California opioid rehabs like Ocean Hills Recovery.

In February 2021, police in Minnesota warned against buying pills after four people died from ingesting fentanyl that was disguised as oxycodone pills. [6]

Between February 4 and March 10, 2021, 10 kilos of fentanyl were seized in Riverside County. That is enough of the drug to make five million potentially lethal doses. The District Attorney explained the terrifying reality that in 2020, there were 227 fentanyl-related deaths in Riverside County. That’s up from 55 in 2018. [7]

A northern California man was indicted for distributing and possessing fentanyl in Solano and Stanislaus Counties in March as well. When authorities arrested him, they found 2,000 pills laced with the deadly synthetic. [8]

These headlines intensify our drive to help people struggling with addiction and seeking California opioid rehab.

Get Help Today for Opioid Addiction 

Ocean Hills Recovery remains open and continues to accept new clients from all levels of care. Contact us today for details about our alcohol and drug treatment programs in California. We are committed to implementing recommendations from health authorities to give you peace of mind as you put your trust in us for addiction treatment services.




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