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Overdose Cases on the Rise During Covid-19. Yet States are Slashing Budgets for Addiction Services.

We have covered the potential consequences for individuals in recovery as a result of Covid-19 and the subsequent quarantine/social distancing regulations. Unfortunately much to our dismay, many of our preemptive assumptions have come to form. Around the country, individuals in active addiction and recovery have suffered immensely due to lack of 12-step meetings, loss of community, unemployment, and extreme isolation. Treatment centers are at full capacity, and the amount of fatal overdose cases are skyrocketing, but states are slashing funding to addiction treatment services in their budget. But why?

In the wake of the economic toll created by Covid-19, states are strapped for cash. The high cases of unemployment and the demand for proper PPE and other medical equipment have created a massive strain on state-wide budgets. Although necessary in some capacity, the re-shifting of budget expenses has left addiction treatment services with the short-end of the stick. There just simply isn’t enough money.

States such as New Jersey and Florida have announced several millions of dollars will be cut from future addiction-related services, while other states have announced that more cuts are imminent. Initially, the federal government had announced that $425 million would be set aside for behavioral health services in the Covid-19 stimulus package, but many experts indicate that the allocated stimulus will barely make a dent in the necessary funds. So now, states are strapped for cash and have little access to appropriate funds from the federal government.

Unfortunately, lack of funding is just the tip of the iceberg.

  1. Fatal Overdose Cases on the Rise: States have seen a significant increase in the amount of fatal overdose cases over the last several months. As of July, 35 states have reported an increase in the following areas: fatal overdose cases, overdose cases, relapses, and cases associated with fentanyl.
  2. Treatment Centers at Full (Reduced) Capacity: To adhere to the social distancing guidelines, treatment centers have been forced to reduce bed capacity in order to keep patients a safe distance from one another. However, as a result, treatment centers have quickly reached full capacity, creating a backlog of individuals that are seeking treatment.

A delicate situation, indeed. Although everyone on the planet has been effected by Covid-19 in some way, it appears the rope is not necessarily being pulled in the same direction when it comes to treating and supporting those struggling with addiction.

As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out. In an uncertain time, our Executive Director is ready for your call to point you in the right direction.