Substance abuse has surged across the U.S. due to coronavirus-induced isolation, but a correlation has been detected between stimulus payments and overdoses. County officials in Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Minnesota, and several other states have reported recent spikes in overdoses after the most recent round of stimulus payouts.
According to Gerry Schmidt, COO at Valley HealthCare System in West Virginia, the combination of COVID-19 isolation, stimulus payments, small support groups, and increased availability of fentanyl have all contributed to an unusual set of circumstances resulting in an uptick in overdoses. “People (with substance addiction) are up against some tough odds right now,” Schmidt said. “We have not seen a decrease in the request for services…If anything, we’ve seen an increase.” An increase in requests for help does point to a positive trend, indicating that people “aren’t afraid” to seek help.