Drug Use and COVID-19

In April 2020, the National Institute on Drug Abuse weighed in on COVID-19’s effect on people with substance abuse disorders. The paper noted that the virus was likely to “hit some populations with substance use disorders (SUVs) particularly hard”. 

Three months later, and we’ve seen it spread from city to city, with infection rates soaring, as the whole world struggles to adjust to a new way of living. And, while hard data on drug abuse during COVID-19 is hard to find, we wanted to discuss how it affects the men, women, and families of the Sunshine State.

Let’s put drug use and COVID-19 under the microscope.

The Numbers

In shocking new numbers, half of Americans reported the crisis has harmed their mental health, a number which puts us in the tens of millions. One of the largest hotlines for emotional distress also recently registered an increase in calls of over 1000% in April alone. 

The impact of depression on not only your mental health, but also your physical health, has been well documented. And, as people began reporting mental health crises since COVID, this is a volatile time in the country’s history for drug or alcohol abuse.

The Florida State Department of Children and Families (DCF) office also received nearly $2 million in emergency grant money, in May, to focus on mental health and substance use disorders in Florida. This was a response to the COVID-19 crisis, with funds for crisis intervention and substance abuse and mental health treatment.

It’s no secret the state has long suffered from a problem with narcotics and opioids. In 2018, officials recorded 4,698 drug overdose deaths across Florida. Of that, nearly 68% involved opioids. And, as it is particularly serious for people who smoke tobacco or marijuana, or even use a vape, there’s already cause for concern, over there. Bring this to someone who uses methamphetamine, which is heavy on the respiratory system already, and the danger increases.

COVID-19: A Refresher Course

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, impacting the lungs and, causing shortness of breath, coughing and serious fevers. If left untreated, it can lead to severe health complications and is dangerous to people who are immunocompromised, as well as the elderly. 

To date, Florida alone has had 282,000 confirmed cases, making up just over 8% of the country’s 3,370,000 COVID-19 infections. As numbers climb and hospitals strain with the people being admitted, states are considering a second wave of shutdowns to stop the virus.

Drug Use and COVID-19

Statistics on opioid-related deaths, drug use, and COVID-19 in Florida are sparse. What we can say is that it’s hard to separate the high infection rates from the state’s longstanding drug problem. One directly impacts the other, which is all the more cause for concern about our citizens struggling with substance abuse.

To our graduates and anybody going through recovery, know that Serenity is thinking about you during this difficult time. 

And, to anybody out there who might be struggling with overcoming their own addiction, remember: there is always help available. Get in touch with us, today, to find out more about Serenity Springs’ Intensive Outpatient (IOP) or Men’s Residential recovery services, and let’s get through this together.