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The Cascading Effect that Has Led to Increased Drug-Related Overdoses

Marcel Gemme By Marcel Gemme | Last Updated: 19 September 2023
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Social Isolation, unemployment, and disruption in normal supply lines of illegal drugs have forced addicts to seek new dealers and try unfamiliar substances. The closure along the Mexico/U.S. border has disrupted illegal supply lines; however, it is still difficult to believe that drug cartels stop finding ways to smuggle drugs into the country. Although, a United Nations report from the Office on Drugs and Crime issued a statement stating the virus has changed the route of illicit drug flows. However, this is the same organization that told us not to worry about the new coronavirus back in January. Overall, everything that has occurred has caused a cascading effect resulting in an increased number of drug-related overdoses—not all fatal.

Information released in an Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program indicated overdoses had increased significantly when compared to the same time in 2019. Since the first reported cases of COVID-19, overdoses have increased, on average, 20%. In March of 2020, it was an 18% increase when compared to March of 2019. In April of 2020, it was 29% over April of 2019 and a 42% increase in May of 2020. For every ten suspected overdoses reported in May of 2019, there were 14 overdoses reported in May of 2020. Overdoses increased to 42% per month during the pandemic as compared to the same time in 2019.

The forced government lockdowns have caused many treatment centers, drug courts, and recovery programs to close or scale back services. Social distancing has sequestered people leaving them to use drugs alone and not being able to get treatment or overdose intervention. Even before the pandemic, many experts felt the nation’s infrastructure for helping with addiction was underfunded and inadequate. The pandemic and the heavy-handed intervention from elected officials caused a domino effect that is continuing. Treatment providers across the nation have their work cut out for them, and it has come down to save as many as you can.




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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.