Covid-19 hit and the world stopped.
But a deadly epidemic has been raging for nearly a decade with millions of lost lives. Even since this virus hit, opioid overdoses and deaths have increased. After seeing the numbers go down, that’s been a devastating change. Those who struggle with substance use disorder have also died by suicide overall increasing deaths of despair.
The isolation has been deadly. Face-to-face support fell apart and for a lot of people, hope went with it.
The camaraderie between doctors, researchers have been unprecedented for Covid-19. Yet we don’t have nearly the data or working relationships for drug and alcohol-related deaths.
What’s more in my home state of Virginia, we spent more than $200 million on booze over March and April 2020, according to figures from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, an increase of $30 million in sales from the previous year. That’s happening across the country and the world.
So while the pandemic seriously affected those who were struggling for recovery, the crisis may have prompted more who will live with an addiction.
Meanwhile, our most promising workforce, those in their thirties and forties are dying or finding themselves jobless. An entire generation has been lost and the crisis has unhinged the delicate balance and success of support for those trying to find recovery and those already there.
I didn’t start all this to say there is no hope. There is. We just can’t let up. Let the protests we’ve seen lately fuel our passion to stop the deaths related to addiction.