COVID-19 is making addicts hoard drugs
America was facing a drug crisis before the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the opioid epidemic peaked in 2018. It was estimated that 10.3 million Americans older than 12 years misused opioids in 2018 and there were over 70,200 fatal overdoses in the country of which 47,600 deaths involved opioids.
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States and the government declared a state of national emergency, all hell broke loose as people started panic buying and stashing up on toilet roll. Meanwhile, addicts were also stockpiling their substances of choice. This is a recurrent pattern and people who deal with illicit drugs know that travel restrictions and social distancing, primarily intended to stop the spread of coronavirus, will also disrupt the local as well as the international supply chain of their drugs.
The Effects of Drug Hoarding During Coronavirus
- Increased risk of fatal overdose
The consequences of hoarding drugs could be devastating on the addict since their stash of drugs is closer than ever. Addicts will also adopt riskier habits, increase dosage, or substitute unfamiliar drugs. Besides, to manage a rapidly depleting stash, an addict may enter withdrawal. Withdrawal is uncomfortable and it can be fatal if an addict resorts to drugs.
- Increased risk of relapse
A natural disaster is the biggest trigger for relapse due to increased anxiety and the lingering fear of the unknown. As the lockdown goes on and the hope for a solution starts to dwindle, recovering addicts may relapse and resort to substances as a coping mechanism.
- Poly-drug abuse
Since street prices have increased and the supply of many illicit drugs has dwindled, addicts may probably find other substitutes or supplement to increase the effect of available drugs. These supplements may include alcohol, inhalants, benzodiazepines or even everyday chemicals like baking soda. Users may also move from less dangerous methods to injecting lethal combinations of drugs.
- The strain on health services
Drug users are more likely to live with multiple people, have respiratory as well as other health issues or be homeless – and thus more at risk of contracting COVID-19. Not only will this exacerbate underlying health problems but also they may put vulnerable people at risk. An increase in health complications means an increased strain on services that are already near breaking point.
Find a Rehab Program During COVID-19
This is the best time to begin your recovery journey. Not only does the lockdown mean a drug drought but also, it means you are likely separated from associates who may offer you drugs as the weeks of social isolation stretches into months.
Also, drug users dealing with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety face unprecedented challenges during this period of isolation. In recognition of the need for rehab services, federal laws have been relaxed to allow people to access counseling and peer support faster. Rehab centers are also following best practices to limit exposure to the virus.
The journey is a long one but we would love to help you beat this. NJ Addiction Resources is only a call away and we have these helpful resources for you. Call our helplines now.