Nonfatal drug overdoses rose 18% during the 2020 pandemic year
Nonfatal drug overdoses rose 18% during the 2020 pandemic year, from 6,196 emergency department visits in 2019 to 7,290 the following year, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Thursday.
People of color were disproportionately affected: Native Americans were nine times more likely to experience a nonfatal overdose than white Minnesotans, and Black Minnesotans were three times more likely. The numbers are in line with national trends showing a spike in overdose deaths, especially among people of color, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has changed school and in-person diversions that may help people in recovery, while adding financial and health-related stress, which can be triggers for people suffering from addiction.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest public health issue in the world for almost two years now, but the other pressing public health issues have not gone away,” said Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health commissioner, in a statement. “The opioid epidemic continues to be pervasive and requires continuing, comprehensive drug overdose prevention and response efforts.”