New CDC report shows increase in overdose deaths in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – A new CDC report shows overdose deaths in Colorado have dramatically increased during the pandemic.

1,655 Colorado residents died of an overdose between April 2020 and April 2021. This represents a 34% increase from the previous year. In the 12-month period ending in April 2020, there were 1,230 overdose deaths and between April 2018 and April 2019, overdose deaths did not even reach 1,000.

Experts at the Friendly Harbor Community Center in Pueblo say the pandemic has exacerbated a problem already plaguing our state.

They tell me that the isolation and loss of jobs that accompanied the pandemic can be a direct cause of depression and addictive behavior.

There are resources available for the growing number of Coloradans struggling with drug addiction. These range from harm reduction measures like fentanyl test strips and Narcan, an emergency nasal spray that can stop an opioid overdose, to peer support services that tackle drug addiction. its source.

“Harm reduction is a hot topic. Whether we’re talking about needle exchanges, the availability of Narcan, or safe places for drug addicts. Yes, there are two sides to this coin, it’s a tough conversation, but the good news is it’s happening. The only thing we can do that is not so politically charged is to fight the stigma. Said Michelle Hill from Friendly Harbor.

The center is made up of former addicts who act as mentors to those who hope to overcome their own addiction. Their mission is to change the cultural stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness by letting those in pain know that they shouldn’t be afraid to seek help.

Other resources available include Colorado Wellness Recovery, which is designed to help Colorado residents struggling with substance abuse disorders. If you or a loved one is in crisis and need help immediately, we encourage you to call Colorado Crisis Services.

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James C. Tibbs