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Time for Pennsylvania to Recommit to the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic

Time for Pennsylvania to Recommit to the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic | Newtown News of Interest |

[Figure: Data from Newtown Twp Police Department. Projects by John Mack based on the data as of April 2021*.]


Data indicate that COVID-19 intensified the nation’s opioid epidemic, which claimed nearly 500,000 lives between 1999 and 2019. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 81,000 overdose deaths occurred nationally between 2019 and 2020 — the highest in any 12-month period ever measured. Overdose deaths have continued to rise.


The crisis is especially acute in Pennsylvania. Before the pandemic, the state’s Department of Health reported a 19% decline in overdose deaths from 2017 to 2019, which nevertheless represents 4,458 deaths in 2019 — a staggering 35 people per 100,000. But overdose numbers skyrocketed during the pandemic. As the state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs found, 2020 was likely the worst year on record for overdose deaths in the Keystone State.


Overall, the opioid epidemic has transcended Pennsylvania’s urban-rural divide. Though media coverage and public attention have stalled, Pennsylvanians can’t afford to turn away from this crisis. Kate Winslet [star of HBO’s “Mare of Easttown” who visited Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood to understand the opioid epidemic] told the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd that she was “staggered that there aren’t more … support networks in place to help with people.” As the pandemic slowly fades, the deaths of despair will keep occurring.


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johnmacknewtown's insight:

*Reviewing the April 2021 police data [link], drug abuse seems to be on the rise during COVID-19, yet people seem to be ignoring the problem or are not aware of the problem. A reporting system called ODMAP shows that the early months of the pandemic brought an 18% increase nationwide in overdoses compared with those same months in 2019. The trend has continued throughout 2020, according to the American Medical Association. Ref:


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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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