Pandemic and Opioid Crisis

Pandemic and Opioid Crisis

“It might be quite uplifting to fly as steeply as a kite in the open air. Victims of opioid addiction who receive effective treatment and recover share the same sentiment.”

As the Pandemic rages on and we are experiencing another wave of increased COVID-19 deaths, all the media has fallen silent in reporting another ongoing pandemic – of mental health problems and addiction. Recently, we lost one of ours, to both of these pandemics. It was reported that an ICU Nurse had passed away from an alleged drug overdose. Now, I am not aware of the details here but, it does raise an unaddressed concern of deteriorating mental health and the existing opioid crisis that appears to be overlooked and largely ignored. 

No one is immune to the stresses and fears that this pandemic has exposed us to. As health care professionals, we are doing our best in looking after our patients. No one is prepared to witness this much heartache, this much death, this much distrust. The population remains divided over COVID Vaccine and the agenda has been politicized. At a time where socializing is a luxury, relationships and friendships are being tested. Everyone is feeling increasingly isolated, alone in a crowd.

The Future : Continuing to assist in the fight against the opioid epidemic

The general environment of mistrust makes it difficult to seek help from anyone. More people are turning to substances in order to cope and get respite from increasing pressures and stressors. The Opioid Crisis is another pandemic that has been raging in Canadian homes for years and has been significantly worse in the last year. 

Do Treatments Exist For Opioid Use Disorder?

In Canada, an average of 20 people die every day from opioid overdose and perhaps have 10 fold overdoses where patients are being saved by immediate intervention using Naloxone. This is double the rate from the previous years. If it was already a “crisis” prior to COVID Pandemic, what do we call it now? Catastrophe, maybe. 

Only, this one is not in our faces every day and we can’t limit the spread by wearing masks or getting ourselves vaccinated. The only weapon in our arsenal to defeat this pandemic is education. Educating the public about prevention, harm reduction, educating about treatment options. 

Perhaps it is time we include addiction education in schools. Like COVID-19, the Opioid Catastrophe has been devastating to families. If only, there was a mask and a vaccine for this pandemic as well…

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