JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s being called a crisis on top of the crisis.
The group Drug Free Duval says overdoses have increased significantly in Duval County, and studies from across the country show opioid use has grown significantly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, there has been a 38% increase in drug overdose calls in Duval County for the year to date.
“We began to see some downward trends in 2018 but now we’re seeing really sharp increases,” explained Susan Pitman, founder of Drug Free Duval.
Pitman says people need to know just how much this pandemic has brought out the use of drugs, and that it could get worse this holiday season.
“Part of it is, whether it’s isolation or social anxiety, expectations that you’re afraid, can’t be mad. And you couple that with the crushing financial reality and economic realities of so many people that have either have taken pay reductions, they’re uncertain about their employment or future employment and the stability of jobs,” Pitman said.
The group says supply chains have been disrupted, and that people are seeking outside sources. It says the use of the opioid overdose reversal medication Naloxone is another source for people to use to respond faster and save lives.
An online course provided by JFRD and Drug Free Duval helps train people about the signs of overdose and how to administer an opioid overdose reversal drug.