This week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody urged Floridians struggling with addiction, loneliness or depression while social distancing to seek help, not drugs.
Reports are emerging of an increase in drug overdose calls to first responders in some parts of the state and country during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many Floridians are fighting two crises—the global COVID-19 pandemic and the national opioid crisis. But just because we are under a statewide stay-at-home order does not mean those struggling with substance abuse disorder must suffer alone. Help is still available, even if some resources are not as conventional as before the pandemic. Virtual counseling and telemedicine are just a few of the newer expanded services permitted under executive orders recently issued to help Floridians stop the spread of COVID-19. Additional resources are available on our website DoseofRealityFL.com,” Moody said on Tuesday.
Several factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic could be contributing to an increase in drug overdose reports, including:
- Social distancing leading to feelings of loneliness and depression;
- Financial troubles and uncertainty following the unprecedented surge in unemployment;
- Reduced staffing and hours at substance abuse clinics;
- Prescription drug patients self-medicating to avoid trips to the doctor’s office and pharmacy; and
- More users getting high alone and having no one around to help monitor use or administer lifesaving treatment.
With state universities and high schools moving to online classes to stop the spread of the coronavirus, millions of students are back at home. If unused or expired prescription drugs are in the house, teens or young adults who may be struggling with addiction could gain access to these dangerous narcotics. Moody is urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drug abuse.