Drug overdoses up due to COVID-19

Drug overdoses increasing in pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The COVID-19 crisis is creating another crisis for the country: an increase in drug overdoses and deaths.

The Jefferson County Health Department today urged first responders to get more training to help substance abuse victims.

The Jefferson County Health Department today provided training in providing naloxone which can help save the life of an overdosed victim at a critical time. It turns out that training is needed more than ever due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Jefferson County Health Department provided training Tuesday for police, first responders, and others who may be there to provide naloxone to a drug overdosed victim.

“Jefferson County saw a 35% increase in ER visits in May to April. 47% increase in EMS runs to overdose events,” said Darlene Traffanstedt, Medical Director for the Jefferson Co. Health Department.

The American Medical Association said this is a nationwide problem. Medical experts said the reason for the increase during the coronavirus outbreak is due to boredom, loneliness, losing a job, or income.

“There is decreased treatment availability. There are some financial realities and to be honest the drug trade has been affected,” Traffanstedt said.

The Jefferson County Medical Director said changes in the drug could be making it more deadly. The training program hopes to save lives during this crisis by teaching people how to administer naloxone to counter drug overdose.

“We want to say to those who are struggling with substance abuse or a loved one with substance abuse - there is help. There is free help available to them,” Traffanstedt said.

The health department program will provide training and a naloxone kit for anyone who might need to help a drug overdose victim.

Numbers are provide for free assistance to anyone who might need help or counseling.

For the 24-7 Help Line, call: 1-844-370-1760 and for The Recovery Resource Center, call: 205-458-3377.

Go to the jcdh.org website and search naloxone.

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