by Mike Critelli
Opioid related deaths skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were nearly 92,000 drug overdose deaths in 2020, a 30% increase from the prior year. Overdose deaths spiked up again in the first half of 2021. An examination of causation produces a multitude of reasons:
Progression from addictive prescription opioids to heroin to fentanyl
Availability - the result of more active drug cartels across Mexican borders into the United States, and more lucrative drug trafficking opportunities in heroin and fentanyl
Public policy and institutional leaders such as corporate CEOs, educational system leaders, healthcare system CEOs, and military leaders lack a comprehensive culture of health strategy.
The opioid crisis has a direct correlation with mental health issues, obesity, and other health concerns. Isolation and loneliness caused by the various Covid-19 lockdowns have seemingly exacerbated mental health disorders, triggering an increased incidence of substance abuse and related behaviors, such as domestic abuse and suicide. Contributing to these stress levels are politically divisive news outlets promoting fear mongering for ratings. The coping mechanisms for some when dealing with this fear, anxiety, and burnout have led to the abuse of various “self medicating” substances.