COVID-19 Pandemic Leading to Surge in Overdose Deaths in Chicago and Beyond

    The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to a surge in overdose deaths in Chicago and other areas around the country, ProPublica Illinois reports.

    In the first five months of this year, more than twice as many people have died or are suspected of having died of opioid overdoses in Cook County compared with the same period in 2019– 924 confirmed or suspected overdose deaths in the county so far this year, compared with 461 during the same time last year.

    Increases in opioid-related deaths have also been reported in areas including Milwaukee,Memphis, Virginia and western New York, the article notes.

    Experts tell ProPublic that the pandemic is playing a role in the increase in opioid deaths. “This is going to make it so much worse,” said Kathleen Kane-Willis, a researcher with the Chicago Urban League who has studied the opioid epidemic for more than a decade. “It’s going to wear on people. It’s going to make them more anxious and depressed. Being thrust into poverty is such a stressor, and people do turn to substances to get through that stress.”

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    COVID-19: We Are Here for You

    In this uncertain time, we know that you may be concerned about keeping your families and your communities safe and healthy. We are dedicated to ensuring you have the support you need to address substance use and addiction – from prevention to recovery.

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    By Partnership Staff
    June 2020


    June 2020