Overdose Hospital Visits Rise Amid Pandemic; Emergency Rooms Overwhelmed

Hospitals are struggling with an overwhelming amount of overdose patients that are reportedly connected to the pandemic.

According to NPR, patients dealing with drug-related conditions have visited hospitals more because of the lack of programs and resources they would usually receive if not for the pandemic lockdown.

“All overdoses and opioid overdoses…those were the only two [categories] for which we saw an increase,” said Kristin Holland, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outlet reports that hospital emergency departments went down by more than 40 percent when the pandemic hit because people were scared of catching the coronavirus.

In a study done by Holland and her fellow peers, it was found that people who didn’t catch Rona were still greatly affected by disruptions caused by the pandemic. Instead of going to their typical outlets for relief, they turned to emergency departments for help. “People are indeed experiencing poor mental health, suicidal thoughts, and substance use potentially as a coping mechanism,” Holland said. The study analyzed roughly 190 million emergency departments and compared the 2020 visits to those from the year prior.

While the departments welcome all guests no matter the condition, experts say some staff is low in numbers or have not been trained to help patients with those types of issues. “Emergency physicians have always been able to treat the overdose, but we did not have the tools to treat the addiction or the dependency,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

COVID-19 deaths have dropped significantly. However, fatal overdoses across the country are continuing to grow. There have been more than 220 drug-related deaths every day, NPR reports.

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