How can we stop the surge in addiction and overdose deaths?

Naloxone hyrdochloride syringe and box
The opioid crisis has affected people across the country. Naloxone, or Narcan, can help revive people who are suffering overdoses.
Wikimedia Commons file

The pandemic has ushered in a surge of binge drinking and dangerous drug use. In the first half of 2020, nearly 500 Minnesotans died from drug overdoses, according to preliminary data from the Minnesota Department of Health. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said overdoses nationally in the 12 months ending in May 2020 set a record.  

Drug use and overdoses were trending upward before the pandemic, but the isolation, economic strain and life upheavals caused by COVID-19 seem to have accelerated what some are calling “deaths of despair.”

Why are so many people turning to alcohol and other substances right now? What can be done to help reduce overdoses, especially the surge in overdoses due to synthetic opioids?

Angela Davis spoke to an addiction doctor and two young people in recovery about ways to reduce the harm of addiction. 

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If you’re looking for help for yourself or a loved one, the Minnesota School of Social Work has compiled a broad list of addiction resources: Support for Addiction Recovery during COVID-19.


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