Editorial: The addiction epidemic hasn't gone anywhere

October 29, 2020

Columbus Dispatch | Dispatch Editorial Board


Don’t forget about the nationwide epidemic that lurks while the global pandemic grabs all of the attention.


Yes, more than 220,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 this year. But double that awful tally and it is still not as many souls as have been lost to U.S. drug overdoses since 2000.


There is reason to hope that a coronavirus vaccine will emerge and safer social behaviors will eventually deliver us from the lethal threat of COVID, maybe as soon as a year from now. The prognosis is less promising for the opioid epidemic, and some of the very actions encouraged to slow the spread of coronavirus infection increase the likelihood that overdose deaths will continue to rise.


In fact, in the first six months of 2020, overdose deaths increased by almost 75% in Franklin County from the same period in 2019 — up to 437 people from January through June this year compared with 252 in the first half of last year. Statewide, the month of May was the deadliest month for overdoses in 14 years, logging at least 520 deaths.

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