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ER visits for suicide attempts, overdoses, domestic violence soared during first part of pandemic: study

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During the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans have been visiting emergency rooms for overdoses, suicide attempts, and domestic abuse, according to a study published Wednesday.

A study of almost 190 million U.S. emergency department (ED) visits found that “visit rates for mental health conditions, suicide attempts, all drug and opioid overdoses, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and neglect were higher in mid-March through October 2020 […] compared with the same period in 2019.”

The report released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says its findings suggest that priorities for ED care and use shifted due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health. This shift, the study says, underscores “mental health, substance use, and violence risk screening and prevention needs during public health crises.”

The study states that the pandemic and the lockdown measures first implemented in March 2020, as well as the social and economic issues made worse by both, “may affect mental health, suicidal behavior, substance use, and violence.”

Throughout the pandemic, a litany of reports and studies have found that, outside the virus, the pandemic is wreaking havoc on Americans’ health because of the variety of implications stemming from being cooped up at home for long periods of time without much, if any, in-person socializing.

For instance, back in October, an Ohio county’s coroner’s office reported a 73.4% surge in overdose deaths during the first six months of last year, with fentanyl comprising the lion’s share of those deaths.

RELATED: 73% uptick in overdose deaths in 2020 so far in Ohio county: Coroner’s report

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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TN Republican introduces legislation to fight opioid shipments into U.S.

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Tennessee Republican Representative Diana Harshbarger is attempting to fight the opioid crisis and epidemic through new legislation. Introduced Friday, Harshbarger told the Daily Caller:

The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the legislation, which addresses what Harshbarger calls a “loophole.” The legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act to specifically require registrants to investigate reports of suspicious orders of controlled substances and halt them if necessary. Under the version of the act currently in force, drug manufacturers and distributors are only required to report suspicious orders of opioids and other controlled substances to the DEA.

“Breaking the opioid epidemic’s stranglehold on our nation is one of my foremost priorities. In an effort to do so, my colleagues and I have identified a loophole that allows distributors to continue order fulfillment, even under suspicious circumstances.”

“My bill closes that loophole with the requirements and guardrails needed to ensure these addictive and potentially dangerous drugs do not fall into the wrong hands while the DEA investigates. The future of our nation depends on us solving the addiction crisis, and this is a step towards that outcome” Harshbarger continued.

The Daily Caller reports:

According to a congressional report released in September, the opioid crisis cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC says 93,331 people died from overdoses in the U.S. in 2020, the highest in 50 years. Opioid-related deaths made up nearly three-quarters of the total.

Pharmaceutical companies have been blamed for contributing to the opioid epidemic. The Department of Justice is currently suing the pharmaceutical company AmerisourceBergen over allegations the company failed to report suspicious orders of opioids to federal law enforcement.

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