A recent article from NPR highlighted new risks for drug users who are struggling to find legitimate drugs during the pandemic. People hoarding supplies and illicit supply drying up due to COVID-19 restrictions have led to an increase in overdoses, with many of them deadly.
Why Are People Overdosing More?
One of the reasons opioid use has become more dangerous is the halting of the supply. Fewer drugs mean more customers for street dealers. Sometimes, they can’t get it from their “regular guy” and must try somebody new.
There are no standard formulations for illicit street drugs—some users overdose due to a different, more potent formulation than they are used to using.
Other drug users may end up with a pill that’s laced with fentanyl, a drug that’s 50 to 100 times stronger than Morphine. Most people who seek out opioids on the street can’t tolerate such a high threshold; fentanyl is one of the primary causes of a deadly overdose in America today.
Drug Influx Halted, But It’s Not a Great Thing
Most of the opioids enter the United States through one of its borders. When international travel halted, so was a lot of drug trafficking at the border. People just aren’t able to get enough supply of their drug of choice. This lack of supply leads to desperation and physical withdrawal symptoms that can be hard to cope with for most addicted persons.
Some people have decided that rather than go through withdrawal. If they’re able to, they can avoid seeking out their drugs on the streets. It’s safer to go to detox where they can be comfortable and safe.
These people aren’t necessarily ready to get clean and sober; many of them will try to pick up where they left off when their opioids become available again. This behavior increases the chance of overdose. Many people use more than their tolerance allows when they relapse, leading to an overdose.
Help Is Still Available
Treatment centers and detox are available, and many cities across the US have evolved their strategies for addiction recovery. Now new clients can go to rehab and isolate for a week or two. They can attend therapy and groups via telehealth.
12-step programs also offer virtual meetings in most areas. For a person who wants to start living without the use of drugs or alcohol, they will also be welcome.