OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Actions have consequences, despite the most fervent desires of most radical progressives. Well, along with rampant bankruptcy and foreclosure, a major consequence of the COVID lockdowns is surging drug overdose numbers, outpacing even COVID-19 deaths in some cities. In fact, the actions taken during the COVID pandemic have led to “more overdoses in a 12-month period than at any point in US history,” experts say. The Daily Caller reports that the country recorded “over 81,000 drug overdose deaths in a 12-month stretch, the worst year-long total reported in American history.”
According to a CDC report cited in the article, experts partially attribute the increased overdose total to disruptions of in-person drug treatment and recovery services.
“Americans who suffered from drug use were also increasingly likely to use drugs alone once they entered quarantine and were kept away from others, upping the risk that an overdose would prove fatal since nobody was available to contact already-burdened emergency services, the CDC report outlines.”
Back in September, The Wall Street Journal reported that individuals who were battling opioid addiction were experiencing increased stress due to the isolation resulting from the pandemic, as well as rampant unemployment, bankruptcy, and deaths of loved ones. According to data from the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, suspected overdoses rose about 18% in March following state mandated lockdowns as compared to pre-pandemic numbers. The Wall Street Journal further explained that 21 of the country’s 50 largest counties have reported increased overdoses during the pandemic, including counties in Nevada, California, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Michigan.
A CDC survey revealed that roughly 13% of adult survey participants admitted that they had either started or increased their drug use during the isolation of the pandemic lockdowns.
There are a few counties where this effect is particularly evident. In Los Angeles County, the most populous in the country, overdoses rose 48% in the first 6 weeks of the pandemic, compared with the same timeframe the previous year. The Wall Street Journal quoted Gary Tsai, the LA County health department interim director of substance abuse prevention and control saying, “They’re indoors, they’re stressed, maybe they lost a job or a family member.” And Franklin County, Ohio surpassed the 2019 total number of overdoses way back in August.
The Hill reported that
“fatalities in San Francisco this year outnumbered COVID-19 deaths by a 3 to 1 margin.”
And The AP reported that
“A record 621 people died of a drug overdose in San Francisco so far this year, a staggering number that far outpaces the 173 deaths from COVID-19 the city has seen thus far.”
That number would be significantly greater, as well, if not for the nearly 3,000 times that Narcan was administered in lifesaving fashion.
I feel like someone recently said something like, “The cure can’t be worse than the disease itself,” talking about lockdowns and closures.
Oh yeah, it was President Donald Trump, who literally said, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
And gee whiz, that was all the way back in March, before all the bankruptcies, foreclosures, and drug overdoses. It’s almost like he knew that widespread lockdowns and closures would not be the most effective way to combat the virus while maintaining a robust economy and safeguarding the mental wellness of citizens. I mean, who could have guess that vulnerable addicts, who depend on structure, stability, and support to stay clean, might tend to dangerously relapse if you lock everyone in their homes, take away their jobs, repossess their houses, cancel their activities, and shut down their businesses. Is it reasonable to say that any intelligent person could have foreseen this impact on a vulnerable population? Too bad some leaders didn’t care to acknowledge the negative secondary effects of lockdowns and were apparently willing to sacrifice vulnerable addicts and recovering addicts for political manipulation.