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Did Lockdowns Make the Opioid Epidemic Worse?

COVID-19 has affected everyone’s lives over the past couple of years. The principal problems with COVID have been well documented, but there are countless unpredicted issues as well. One of those is the suggestion that the lockdowns enforced by governments in a reaction to COVID may have made the opioid epidemic currently wreaking havoc on the United States even worse.

It has been claimed that even though the lockdowns meant that less people ventured out to seek pain-killing medications in 2020 and into 2021, the people who did seek such medications experienced a greater likelihood of receiving painkillers that contain dangerous opioids.

Despite Requests for Pain Relief Falling, Prescriptions of Opioid-Based Painkillers is Rising

These claims have been made by the assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University in Bloomington, Byungkyu Lee. In a study conducted by Lee and his team, they found that even though requests for pain medication dropped by 16 percent, the number of prescriptions given that contained highly addictive opioids (such as OxyContin) rose by 3.5 percent. This is despite a decade-long effort to discourage healthcare professionals from prescribing pain medications that contain opioids.

The study also found that treatments for pain that did not involve painkillers, such as pain relief massage, osteopathy, and acupuncture dropped six percent during lockdowns. Such treatments include person-to-person contact and so were offered with much less frequency—with the “go to” solution for pain relief becoming the prescription of strong, opioid-based painkillers once again.

Despite ongoing efforts, America is still losing the battle against opioids, and the situation is becoming much worse with opioid-related overdoses rising by a staggering 30 percent between April 2020 and April 2021 when compared to the previous twelve-month period.

Black, Hispanic and Low-Income Patients are More Likely to be Prescribed Opioid-Based Painkillers

“[Nonopioid options] will likely continue to be inaccessible for many patients because of factors such as cost, underinsurance, lack of transportation, lack of childcare, or inability to take time off work,” said Lee. He also stated that in practical terms, Hispanic and Black patients, patients who cannot afford decent levels of health insurance, and those who reside in rural regions will still be less likely to receive nonopioid alternatives.

Need help with your own reliance on opioids? Then get in contact with Advanced Rapid Detox. We can help rid your body in as little as three days, all while you are sedated in a controlled and supervised medical facility. Contact us at (800) 603-1813 or online here.