The study, by Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Sciencehas been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by the International Journal of Drug Policy for April 2022, according to a press release from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The study tracked increases in opioid-related overdose deaths in the second quarter of 2020.
The increase coincided with the release of federal stimulus payments.
The study used data from the Ohio Department of Health.
According to the press release, more people in Ohio died of opioid overdoses than at any point in a decade.
Nationally, there were 100,000 deaths from opioid overdose from April 2020 to April 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
The Attorney General’s office says these are the most recorded deaths from opioids ever recorded in a 12-month period.
This is an increase of 28% compared to the 78,085 deaths from April 2019 to April 2020.
“The link between money for pandemic relief and deaths from opioid overdoses is now clear,” Ohio Justice Minister Yost said. “The intention was to help Americans navigate this deadly pandemic, but it also fueled a tidal wave of overdoses.”
The study was conducted by a team led by Dr. Jon Sprague, Director of Science and Research at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Bureau of Criminal Investigation Eminent Scholar at Bowling Green State University.
You can check the survey here.
The authors described the convergence of COVID-19 pandemic with the opioid epidemic as a “perfect storm” for people with opioid dependence, whose stressors were exacerbated by social isolation, loss of income, and reduced access to medication for opioid use disorders.
“Throwing money at a problem is not always the best solution,” Yost said. “Let the data be the guide to learning from the past. Addiction is a disease you can not cure with cash alone.”
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