The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it expects the death toll from drug overdoses to hit 75,500 by the end of 2020, according to alarming preliminary estimates from the public health institute.
Coverage of the opioid crisis has fallen to the wayside this year as the nation and the rest of the world contend with the largest pandemic in a century.
Before the novel coronavirus arrived on the scene, the opioid crisis was already deadly and far-reaching in scope. Most deadly is how the pandemic has exacerbated drug abuse.
Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, drug use has shot through the roof—both for opioids and drugs like cannabis. This is mostly because the millions of Americans who have been cooped up in their homes often feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, lonely, and bored—factors that increase a person’s likelihood of using drugs.
However, it is worth noting that “party drug” usage has fallen significantly this year, according to a more internationally focused July survey from The Economist, with “party drugs” here referring to ecstasy, cocaine, and ketamine. Cannabis, however, has seen the biggest uptick in usage, the same study found.
The CDC report published on Wednesday found that, in the first three months of this year, there were 19,416 drug-overdose deaths, a 10% spike from the same period in 2019, which saw 16,682 deaths. Between February and March alone, there was a 10,000-person death increase.
Demographically, the group most impacted was white males who fall between the ages of 25 and 64, which is not a significant change from pre-pandemic trends.
What drives home the true scale of this crisis, however, is that only 13 U.S. states have reported a decrease in overdose deaths this year so far, the report said.
These results are preliminary and more data is expected to be published about 2020, likely sometime after the start of 2021.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’
The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”
The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”
An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.
In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.
Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”
As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”
Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”
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