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Opioid Use and the Pandemic

Opioid addiction. The topic has been in the news for a few years. Sadly, this crisis is nothing new. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 71,000 individuals died from opioid-related deaths in 2019.

And those numbers are sure to increase in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Those of us in the medical profession fear that instead of reaching out for help, COVID-19 has people afraid to seek the assistance they need.

The impact of COVID-19 on those struggling with addiction may be even more pronounced as it becomes difficult to obtain proper treatment as many addiction treatment centers across the country have had to shut down or turn away patients. And as individuals and families struggle with financial losses and the increased requirements for social distancing and safety, it is likely that next year will be a difficult one as well.

However, there are steps that as a community we can take to help those among us who may be struggling. Social distancing means staying safe but doesn’t mean that we need to completely distance ourselves from others. Especially from those who need our help now. People struggling with addiction need connection. They need someone to lean on and talk to and it’s our job to be on the ready.

It’s important that we work together to destigmatize addiction. It is a disease and needs to be treated as such. Unfortunately, we don’t know how long this pandemic will last so it’s important for all of us to be aware of those who may be struggling and encourage them to search for and receive help.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our community but it has also shown how resilient we can be. No matter who you are, you have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Stay connected, support your community and be an example to others.

JFCS offers addiction counseling and other services. We are seeing new and existing patients in-person and via telemedicine. If you need support or know someone who is battling addiction or mental illness, we’re here to help. Please contact us at 602.256.0528 or via the JFCS website at