COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
An estimated 100,000 Americans have died in one year from drug overdoses. Health experts say that the overdoses are tied to COVID-19 and a more dangerous supply of drugs.
Over the past year there has been a 30% increase in drug overdoses across the nation.
In the state of Missouri there has been a 14.6% increase in overdoses since April of 2020 to April of 2021.
According to the Columbia Police Department, since January 1st 2021 until November 17th 2021 officers have made 151 reports when an overdose is suspected and there have been 25 suspected deadly overdoses in Columbia.
Experts believe the growing increase of overdose deaths is fentanyl in the illicit drug supply along with the COIVD-19 pandemic. The pandemic caused many drug users to be socially isolated and unable to get treatment or other support.
Scott Silverman author and substance abuse expert says, "people have a lot more free time on their hands, there's a lot more stressers going on."
Experts say fentanyl is the driving force in this crisis.
Dr. Jon Siebert Medical Director for Valley Hope Treatment and Recovery says, "it's synthetic, it's cheap and it's everywhere."
People who are addicted to opioids are seeking to buy fentanyl, while others think they are buying a certain drug it ends up being laced with fentanyl.
"Now you've got the risk of overdose but you've also got the risk of getting addicted to something you never intended to try in the first place." Dr. Siebert said.
Drug overdoses are surpassing deaths by guns, car crashes, even the flu.
Back in 2020 the Center for Disease Control reported that there were about 93,000 overdose deaths which was the highest recorded number in a calendar year.
Experts believe that the 2021 tally will likely be more than 100,000 overdoses.
Police and public health experts say law enforcement cannot stop this epidemic and that more needs to be done to combat overdose deaths.
If you or someone you know is in need of substance abuse help you can call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357