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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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Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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