The COVID-19 Pandemic Brought Out All the Substance Abuse Triggers While Making It Even Harder to Access Effective Treatment for Addiction
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was obvious that the platitudes you learned in school regarding drug abuse just don’t stand up to scrutiny. Platitudes about just saying no, about being a leader instead of a follower, and about people making wrong choices were laughably simplistic even in 2019. In 2020, the pandemic dispossessed even the most relentlessly optimistic people of their illusions about mental health, financial stability, and social ties. (Can you imagine the phrase “toxic positivity” entering the popular lexicon in any other year?) Meanwhile, more than one in eight participants in a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that their substance use disorder began or got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Loneliness and financial insecurity do not make it any easier to stay sober. The remnants of the War on Drugs are not helping, either; incarceration and endless probation do not make it easier to recover from drug addiction or to avoid getting infected with COVID. Therefore, it is more important than ever to advocate for yourself so that, if you get charged with a drug-related offense, the courts will connect you to needed services instead of giving you the harshest possible punishment just to satisfy “tough on crime” voters. The best way to do this is with the help of a Central Florida drug crimes defense lawyer.
It Doesn’t Begin or End with Opioid Abuse
Too often, the popular media take the attitude that abuse of illegal drugs and controlled substances is a crime for which the only deterrent is punishment. The CDC data highlights what reports on drug crime statistics often miss, namely that drug use is a health issue. The CDC report showed that 40 percent of adults reported experiencing a mental health issue in the past year; this number includes the 13 percent of survey respondents who reported a new or worsening drug problem. (If the statistic that one in four American adults has undergone treatment for a mental illness at least once does not convince you that it is normal to struggle with mental health, this report will.)
The dramatic rise in opioid overdoses is well documented, and trends have changed with the recent changes in the prescribing of opioid painkillers and the availability of naloxone and medication-assisted treatment. Meanwhile, the number of overdoses on all kinds of drugs, not just opioids, has spiked during the pandemic. In 2020, cocaine overdose deaths increased by 26 percent, while overdoses on methamphetamine and similar stimulants increased by 34 percent. The CDC attributes this rise in overdoses to the fact that 2020 has been a year full of social isolation and emotional and financial stress, which make it hard to get sober and stay sober. Meanwhile, it has been harder than ever to access health care, as the health system has been in crisis mode dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let Us Help You Today
A Florida drug offense lawyer can help you avoid letting a drug possession charge from 2020 derail your plans to stay sober in 2021. Contact FL Drug Defense Group to discuss your case.