DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The impacts of COVID-19 are widespread and severe across the country, but a study by Harm Reduction Ohio says those who struggle with drug addiction are particularly at risk.
The study claims overdose deaths increased nearly 30 percent in the first six months of 2020 in comparison to last year’s statistics.
A press release from Buckeye Health Plan in Columbus said one of the main reasons for the spike is decreasing emotional support due to the pandemic response. Public Information Officer with Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, Ann Stevens, said those battling opioid disorders can already tend to be overwhelmed, and the pandemic is fuel to the fire.
“We believe it’s because people are stressed. There’s a lot of anxiety, depression because of the pandemic. And also unemployment plays into it. There’s a lot of factors that will increase the potential for overdose.”
She said fortunately, those with opioid disorders may be able to find relief now that support groups are becoming more accessible.
“Support is really critical for somebody who’s trying to overcome drug abuse or substance abuse. You need that support. And luckily for us, a lot of the support groups have stepped up and they’re now on Zoom.”
Stevens said one of the most important things those struggling with drug abuse should remember is that resources are available and help is never too far away.
“One of the main tools would be the Get Help Now app,” Stevens explained, “which lists treatment providers in the area. It’ll tell you about the insurances accepted, what kind of hours they have, directions, all kinds of information.”
Stevens said ADAMHS even offers mental health first aid so friends and family will know how to respond to loved ones in times of crises. Community members can also call the Miami Valley Warmline for support throughout the day or reach out to the crisis line by texting 4HOPE to 741741.
Additional mental health and drug abuse resources can be found here.