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Opioid Overdose Deaths Spike In Maryland, Chicago, Likely Related To COVID Lockdowns

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Opioid overdose deaths spiked in some areas of the United States as the nation faced the epidemic of the novel coronavirus, a devastating double whammy.

Health officials in Chicago are saying that Cook County saw opioid overdoses skyrocket when more people were isolated in their homes.

“The interaction between COVID-19, the fear of COVID-19, and substance use and addiction are pretty much the worst combination I have seen in my career without question,” said Dr. Thomas Britton, President and CEO Gateway Foundation, ABC7 reports.

From January to the end of April, EMS overdose calls increased 72 percent. Over that same time period, over 331 people lost their lives to addiction, which is a 35 percent increase from 2019.

“People are scared that if they go to a treatment center they are going to develop COVID [and] if they go to outpatient, they are going to develop COVID,” Britton said.

He continued, “So the uncertainty of what you are using has increased dramatically. It has more fentanyl – 90% of the overdose deaths have fentanyl in them.”

The state of Maryland saw a similar 3-month period spike with 561 overdose deaths, The Baltimore Sun reports. The number is a 2.6 percent increase from the previous year.

“While it is simply too early to understand the precise effect that the coronavirus pandemic has had on state’s war against substance use, I can assure you that we recognize the threat that it poses to our progress in the fight and to some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Gov. Larry Hogan in a statement.

In 2018, Sara A. Carter produced the film Not in Vein to showcase the opioid epidemic’ss effect on our nation. Watch the eye-opening documentary here:

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Nation

WHO declares Monkeypox global health emergency: Five deaths worldwide

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WHO Director tedros adhanom ghebreyesus

The World Health Organization (WHO) Saturday declared a global health emergency over the rapid spread of monkeypox. The designation is based on the spread of the virus, and not the total number of deaths, which amount to only five globally, according to reports.

Currently, there are more than 16,000 reported cases of the disease in 75 countries, states the WHO. Five deaths have been attributed to the exotic disease, officials with the health organization noted. So far there are 2,400 reported cases of monkeypox in the United States.

MONKEYPOX INFO FROM WHO:

  • Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox
  • Monkeypox is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
  • Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%.
  • Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
  • Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
  • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.
  • An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.
  • The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
  • Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.
Monkeypox was first discovered in a monkey in 1958, and according to WHO the first infection in a human was discovered in 1970 in a small child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“What’s different now is that we’re seeing cases in other countries that normally don’t have monkeypox,” the WHO website declared. “But in fact, we’ve never seen an outbreak like this before.”

WHO June 27, 2022 Meeting Conclusions: 

“The Committee noted that many aspects of the current multi-country outbreak are unusual, such as the occurrence of cases in countries where monkeypox virus circulation had not been previously documented, and the fact that the vast majority of cases is observed among men who have sex with men, of young age, not previously immunized against smallpox (knowing that vaccination against smallpox is effective in protecting against monkeypox as well). Some Members suggested that, given the low level of population immunity against pox virus infection, there is a risk of further, sustained transmission into the wider population that should not be overlooked. The Committee also stressed that monkeypox virus activity has been neglected and not well controlled for years in countries in the WHO African Region.

The Committee also noted that the response to the outbreak requires collaborative international efforts, and that such response activities have already started in a number of high-income countries experiencing outbreaks, although there has been insufficient time to have evaluated the effectiveness of these activities.”

This story is developing

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