COVID-19 has contributed to an increase in demand for mental health services, but anxiety and sadness are not the only mental health concerns individuals are confronting.
Experts assert that abuse of opioids and stimulants is on the rise—and psychologists are well-placed to assist.
Subjects with substance use disorders (SUD) are also more prone to acquire COVID-19 and suffer poorer COVID-19 outcomes, including an increased risk of hospitalization and fatality (Wang, Q., et al., Molecular Psychiatry, 2020).
As of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported having or increasing substance usage as a means of coping with stress or emotions due to COVID-19. Overdoses have risen as well.
ODMAP reveals that the early months of the epidemic saw an 18% rise in national overdoses compared to the same months in 2019.
U.S. states have continued to report increases in opioid-related mortality, coupled with persistent concerns for people with drug use disorders, through 2020, according to the American Medical Association.
Clinical psychologist and researcher at the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, Mandy Owens, Ph.D., has noticed an increase in the quantity and frequency of drug use throughout the epidemic. When narcotics are harder to get, some substance users will have taken up new drugs as well. The usage of fentanyl in Washington state has been on the rise due to an increase in supply. According to Wilson Compton, MD, MPE, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, accurate information on usage and drug kind is scarce.