The COVID-19 crisis has presented Floridians with unprecedented challenges. Between job losses and government orders to stay at home to reduce infection rates, people are struggling to overcome immense financial, emotional and medical barriers.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has affected people in myriad ways. And unfortunately, it has had a profound impact on individuals who were already vulnerable. For instance, people with drug addiction and those experiencing isolation and depression are reportedly contributing to an increase in drug overdoses.
Connecting the health crisis and overdoses
There are several pandemic-related reasons why Florida counties are seeing spikes in drug overdoses.
First is the isolation. People can go days or weeks without seeing or talking to loved ones. This lack of human contact can make a person feel incredibly alone. Loneliness is often a primary factor in depression, which can fuel drug use. Further, people who use drugs alone have less protection in the event of an overdose.
Another issue is the lack of resources. The pandemic has affected medical facilities, public transportation and support organizations, meaning many have had to shut down or restrict services that at-risk individuals rely on.
Further, people are dealing with boredom, anxiety and a general feeling of wanting to escape. These emotions can trigger people to try drugs or use more than they typically would. Importantly, a person who starts using after being in recovery can be at a high risk of overdosing, as their tolerance may be much lower than they think.
Whether drug use is new or not, it can create serious problems in the current environment. To stay safe, reach out for support when you need it. If you know that your loved one uses drugs or is in recovery, check on them as much as you can.
It may also be helpful to know that resources are becoming more available, including telemedicine appointments, legal services and outreach programs. Businesses are also resuming operations, making it a little easier for people to work and spend time with others.
This is a difficult time for nearly every person. However, with support and awareness, we can navigate this challenging time more easily.