2020 ‘exacerbated all of the issues’ driving record drug abuse in America

From Yahoo News:

The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating mental health effects on Americans, and drug abuse is hitting record levels.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in the 12-month period ending in May 2020. That’s the highest number ever recorded by the CDC.

“This pandemic and all that’s come along with it has really just exacerbated those vulnerabilities and the shortcomings of our own approach to treating those people,” Dr. Ryan Marino, a medical toxicologist and emergency physician based out of Ohio, told Yahoo Finance.

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The Deadliest Year In the History of U.S. Drug Use

From New York Magazine:

While over 300,000 Americans and counting have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, another public-health disaster is taking more lives than ever before: drug overdoses.

Overdose deaths in 2019 were significantly higher than 2018, jumping from 67,367 deaths in 2018 to 70,630 overdose deaths in 2019, marking a nearly 5 percent increase, according to a new report issued Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If that’s not grim enough, a separate health alert published by the CDC this week reports a “concerning acceleration” in overdose deaths for 2020, which provisional data show is on track to be the deadliest year for U.S. drug overdose deaths in recorded history. Complete data for 2020 is not expected to be available until some time next year.

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To curb the opioid epidemic, we all must do more

From Lehigh Valley Live

By Rhonda Miller

Nearly 200 people came together last month on a rainy Saturday night in Bethlehem, participating in a community forum addressing the opioid epidemic. Opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in our region, state and nation. We lose more than 2,000 people in Pennsylvania and more than 50,000 people nationwide each year.

Having lost my son Ben to this epidemic, my mission and the mission of our organization, Speak Up for Ben, which organized the forum, is to prevent more families from going through what my family has gone through.

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Opioids claimed the lives of a young Pennsylvania mayor and his pal

He was mayor of a Schuylkill County town at age 22. Two years later, heroin claimed his life


Michael RubinkamOf The Associated Press

Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old, just resigned mayor of the tiny town of Mount Carbon, in what she assumed was a deep sleep. She tried to wake him for his overnight shift at the local supermarket, but he couldn’t be roused, even after she sprinkled him with water from a wet washcloth.

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