Deaths by drug overdoses nearly double in Ohio county thanks to coronavirus lockdown
COLUMBUS, Ohio, October 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Many commenters warned there would be an increase in deaths due to suicide and drug use because of coronavirus lockdown measures. One place where this prediction has dramatically come to pass is Franklin County, Ohio, which has seen a massive increase in deaths caused by drug overdoses. “Addiction is a disease of despair and there’s a lot more despair lately in terms of unemployment and the isolation,” said Dr. Anahi Ortiz, Franklin County coroner.
The coroner told ABC6 that the number of overdose deaths in the first six months of 2020 have surpassed the previous year’s number of overdose deaths for the same period.
“From May on, probably is when we started seeing...increases in those who were dying of overdoses,” said Ortiz. There were about 253 overdose deaths from January to June of last year. In contrast, there were 437 deaths in that time period this year. May and June accounted for much of the increase.
Dr. Margaret Williams, a physician at Ohio State University, wrote in July, “The unintended consequences of social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak may be behind these [overdose] increases.” Like Ortiz, she mentions unemployment and isolation as “triggers for addiction,” noting that “young adults are most affected, with death rates doubling over the last year.”
This observation is echoed by the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, signed by over 9,000 medical professionals. According to its authors, the “devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” of coronavirus lockdown measures will disproportionately burden the young and the working class for years to come.
An issue brief published by the American Medical Association chronicling the increase of drug use and overdose deaths during the coronavirus outbreak notes that “more than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality.” Canada has seen a similar increase in overdose deaths over the course of the pandemic.