The coronavirus lockdowns are fueling a surge in the number of drug overdoses across the country, one of the Democrats who competed against Joe Biden for the party’s presidential nomination recently acknowledged.
“Overdoses nationally jumped 18 percent in March, 29 percent in April, and 42 percent in May – probably similar stats exist for alcoholism,” John Delaney, the former Maryland Congressman who became the first Democrat to declare his 2020 presidential candidacy, wrote on Twitter on July 5, citing data obtained by the Washington Post.
“The negative impact on addiction disease driven by isolation from lockdowns doesn’t get nearly enough attention,” the self-described “moderate” continued, echoing concerns expressed by U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration.
Overdoses nationally jumped 18 percent in March, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May – probably similar stats exist for alcoholism. The negative impact on addiction disease driven by isolation from lockdowns doesn't get nearly enough attention. https://t.co/wp2QGyDi0T
— John Delaney (@JohnDelaney) July 5, 2020
In an interview with Politico published at the end of June, Jim Carroll, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, warned that lethal drug overdoses stemming from the U.S. lockdowns that began around mid-March are “surging,” saying that “experts expect the grim death count to keep rising.”
“The surge is prompting the [White House] drug policy office and federal agencies to convene regular meetings to size up how the pandemic has disrupted the opioid response,” Politico noted, adding:
A White House drug policy office analysis shows an 11.4 percent year-over-year increase in fatalities for the first four months of 2020, confirming experts’ early fears that precautions like quarantines and lockdowns combined with economic uncertainty would exacerbate the addiction crisis.
Lethal drug overdoses posted the first decline in three decades in 2018, under Trump, who has made the opioid epidemic a central issue for most of his tenure.
In the July 1 article highlighted by Delaney, the Post revealed:
Suspected overdoses nationally — not all of them fatal — jumped 18 percent in March compared with last year, 29 percent in April, and 42 percent in May, according to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, a federal initiative that collects data from ambulance teams, hospitals, and police.
The pandemic and the isolation associated with the lockdowns have led to an increase in overdoses, the Post acknowledged.
“President Trump and conservatives have repeatedly cited the possible rise of overdoses and suicides when calling for states and businesses to hurry their economic reopening,” the newspaper conceded.
“Research has established strong links between stagnating economies and increases in suicides, drug use, and overdoses,” it added later.
However, the Post blasted the Trump administration and Congress for “only” designating $425 million of the nearly $2.5 trillion approved for coronavirus emergency relief.
“Drug overdose deaths are surging amid the coronavirus pandemic, driven by increased substance use due to anxiety, social isolation, and depression,” Trump administration officials, particularly Carroll, recently indicated.
“The pandemic has caused my level of concern to go up,” the drug czar told Politico.
President Trump inherited an opioid epidemic from his predecessor that was growing deadlier each year.
In 2017, Trump’s first year in office, the 70,000-plus drug-related fatalities exceeded the number of people killed by terrorists across the world. The deadliest year for drug overdoses, according to the available data, was 2017.
The deaths dropped to slightly over 67,000 in 2018, the latest year for which information is available.
On March 19, California became the first state to issue a stay-at-home order to stem the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease. The vast majority of other states soon followed suit. Eventually, the quarantine measures imposed by several states and city governments impacted more than 95 percent of U.S. residents.
Citing U.S. government and independent assessments in early April, Breitbart News warned that the coronavirus lockdowns would likely lead to an increase in drug abuse fatalities and suicides.
Around mid-April, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), warned that the COVID-19 lockdowns could lead to an increase in mental health issues like suicides.
The Democrats-allied mainstream media lambasted President Trump for warning that the nationwide social-distancing and lockdown measures could be deadly.
Delaney announced his run for president in July 2017, becoming the first Democrat to do so. The former Maryland congressman dropped out of the race at the end of January. Former Vice-President Joe Biden formally clinched the Democrat presidential nomination in early June.