According to Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team data, there were 81 overdose deaths in the first quarter of 2020, and there were 94 overdose deaths in the second quarter.
According to the CDC’s Provisional Drug Overdose Death Statistics, the number of deaths increased from March 2020 to March 2021 by more than 30% across the United States compared to March 2019 to March 2020. Officials have said the reasons behind the increases nationwide may be necessary with the extra stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sydney Silverstein, an assistant professor at Wright State University who studies addiction, said she interviewed local people who used drugs during the pandemic and learned that they spent stimulus money on a variety of things.
“A lot of people said ‘I was able to buy a car, I was able to pay my rent for another month, I bought some furniture,'” Silverstein said. ‘And maybe some of them bought drugs. It’s a mixture just in the way that people did a lot of things with the stimulus money. ”
She said overdose deaths were rising across the country and that there are likely to be many reasons for it.
“I do not really think you can blame this phenomenon for stimulus checks when you have so many other cross-cutting crises going on because of COVID,” Silverstein said. “You have people who are socially isolated, people who lost jobs. Many people I talked to were released early on from transition programs or drug treatment programs because they could not have overcrowding because of COVID.”
In addition, millions of people who do not use drugs used the stimulus money to cover expenses, including thousands of people who lost jobs or work shifts due to COVID.
The conclusion of the public prosecutor’s study says that further research should be done to investigate the connection between the payments and overdose deaths, and that the increase may refer to other factors. Yost said on his Twitter account that he believes the stimulus check helped more people than the injured, but questioned whether they should have been distributed in smaller amounts over time.
Dayton Families of Addicts CEO Anita Kitchen said she knows someone who died of an overdose after receiving a stimulus check.
“You get a lump sum … and if you’re new to recovery, you have not settled down and established your new lifestyle, so what they knew was’ let me strike one last blow and go back and do treatment, and I “will be good.” And one last was one last, “said Kitchen.
She said the increase is likely also due to treatment centers being limited to how many beds they could have and what they could do while taking social distance and taking other COVID-19 precautions. She said the FOA started holding meetings over the computer, which is not ideal when trying to determine if someone needs extra help.
“All of these factors were a perfect storm for those who suffered from addiction or recently recovered,” Kitchen said.
In Clark County, 55 overdose deaths were recorded in 2020, one less than in 2019.
“I want to warn that coincidences are not coherence or causation. No matter what, I see this as a call to action,” said Clark County Assistant Health Commissioner Chris Cook. “Substance abuse and addiction are public health challenges that were present before and during the pandemic. As a community, we have the opportunity to come together and build more resources to help people access services to curb addiction and get on the road to recovery. “