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Study finds increase in drug overdose deaths amid pandemic

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-06 02:13:17-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — September is known as National Drug Recovery Month and this year concerning data shows an increase in overdose deaths amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The University of Baltimore found a 17% increase in overdoses during post-coronavirus stay-at-home orders in comparison to weeks prior.

The Overdose Mapping Application Program uses dozens of agencies across the nation to gather data, including many in Southern Nevada.

Dr. Daliah Wachs says despite some stay-at-home orders lifting, the ongoing pandemic can keep a cycle of isolation going.

Dr. Wachs says most that are using drugs are likely doing it by themselves, which makes it even more dangerous.

“They’re overdosing because they’re in pain, or they’re depressed or with all the stress and anxiety,” says Dr. Wachs.

Addiction psychiatrist Dr. Myra Mathis says families play an important role in recovery.

“The shame and the guilt that comes with drug use, then perpetuates the cycle of isolation and keeps individuals away from support networks that can be helpful,” says Dr. Mathis.

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Health officials predicted a spike in drug overdoses earlier this year when the pandemic began, and now the focus is on preventing more deaths.

“If you overdose, there’s no one to give you the Narcan,” says Dr. Wachs.

The Southern Nevada Health District recommends having Narcan readily available, which can reverse a drug overdose.