The County of San Diego recently published stark numbers about fatal drug overdoses. Overdose deaths have been exacerbated by the mental health challenges caused by the pandemic. In January, overdose deaths had increased at least 50% since the same time last year. Three people overdose and die daily, mostly from opioids.
The indirect causes of overdose deaths vary. Some people are newly addicted, some have relapsed and others may have increased their drug use or are struggling to maintain it. Drug supplies have been spotty on the streets of San Diego for illicit drug users, causing them to turn to other sources. Fentanyl is hyper-potent and often found in drug supplies that are sold as heroin or OxyContin.
Pandemic and relapse
San Diego isn’t the only place where people are struggling. The pandemic has, in part, ushered in a new addiction epidemic. Some individuals in recovery have struggled with isolation, lost jobs, and financial struggles and have relapsed since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Drugs are not flowing on the streets the way they used to due to border shutdowns and fewer flights. Thus, pills are often cut with fentanyl, which is very potent and can be fatal to inexperienced people using it.
A drug addiction, now referred to as a substance use disorder (or SUD), is found among people from all backgrounds. Addiction is a disease and progresses if untreated. The good news is that help is available. Detox and treatment can help you overcome addiction and reclaim your life.
If you or your loved one has relapsed, getting clean and sober may not happen overnight.
Keep a supply of the overdose reversal drug Narcan with you if you know someone who uses opioids. A primary care physician can prescribe it for you. Check in with your loved ones or commit to having them check in with you once or more times a day.
If a loved one turns blue, is unconscious, or has shallow breathing, don’t hesitate to summon emergency help — call 911.
The best way to prevent an overdose is to get clean and sober through a residential treatment program. Some of the best help is available right here in San Diego. Present Moments Recovery can help. Our caring intake counselors can answer any questions you may have about the process. Call them at (619) 363-4767 or visit presentmomentsrecovery.com.