“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:
College to begin offering abortion pill on campus
Barnard College, a partner campus of Columbia University, will be rolling out a plan in May that involves supplying students with abortion pills, the Columbia Spectator reported. The plan to provide the abortion service in the form of mifepristone abortion pills to students was initially announced in the fall of 2022 after the overturning of Roe. V Wade, according to the Spectator. However, the rollout’s delay has been partially attributed to an August 2023 grant the college received, which allowed Barnard to join a large network of primary care providers that will help steer the college through the procedures.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reports Barnard’s Primary Care Health Service will host student focus groups in upcoming weeks to find out student perspectives about the service and to identify new ways to support students considering abortion. “We wanted to make sure that we’re addressing this from every angle that will be supportive of students,” Sarah Ann Anderson-Burnett, director of Medical Services and Quality Improvement of Barnard, told the Spectator. Anderson-Burnett also said it has expanded the availability of its abortion providers to after-hours and year-round.
Barnard has six medical professionals, including two physicians and four nurse practitioners, who are capable of performing the procedure, Mariana Catallozzi, vice president for Health and Wellness and chief health officer of Barnard, told the Spectator. The school also launched a partnership with AccessNurse, a medical call center that will assist with patient concerns related to abortions.
“The training doesn’t end with the clinicians,” Anderson-Burnett told the Spectator. “Clinicians are trained on the actual provision, but there’s also an overall training that will be provided to key partners and stakeholders across the campus because we want every step, every touchpoint, to be supportive and to be trauma-informed and to be patient-valued and centered but also respect confidentiality and privacy.”
The University of Massachusetts Amherst spent more than $650,000 to stock abortion pills in March 2023 at the request of Democratic Maryland Gov. Maura Healey. Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill in May 2023 forcing college in the state to stock abortion pills on campus.
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