Drug use, abuse and overdose are worsening problems in the United States, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
The National Safety Council, quoting CDC data reports, “Of the more than 107,600 reported drug overdose deaths in 2021, more than three-quarters were attributed to opioids. Additionally, in 2020 there were more unintentional overdose deaths in the workplace than in any other year since data collection began in 2011.”
Added stress from the pandemic
Marshfield Clinic Health System psychiatrist Dr. Justin Schoen said the strain of the pandemic created a greater need for mental health services across the country. This need is challenging to meet because the pandemic has also created a national shortage of workers. Health care is among the hardest hit industries with respect to a diminishing workforce.
“This is a difficult time for the communities we serve in terms of mental health and substance use. That is no doubt linked to the difficulties we’ve faced as a country during the pandemic,” Dr. Schoen said. “It is important for friends and family to be tuned into each other and be that first line of defense if someone is showing signs of possible drug misuse or abuse.”
Warning signs of drug abuse or misuse
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services provides this in-depth list of signs someone may be misusing or abusing drugs. Among the signs are engaging in risky behavior, neglecting responsibilities, changes in physical appearance and a more volatile mood.
Help is available
Marshfield Clinic Health System offers substance abuse services through Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc., a federally funded community health center. The Health System also has a full range of mental health services that may be useful to individuals and families struggling with drug addiction, misuse or overdose.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug use, contact a primary care provider or mental health expert. Or contact Family Health Center Alcohol and Drug Recovery Services at 1-844-288-8324.