Overdose deaths increase amid COVID-19

JACKSON, Tenn. — Many treatment centers closed during the past three months amid COVID-19, but addiction hasn’t slowed down.

For those who suffer from substance abuse, the closures meant lack of access to daily resources that are meant to help them.

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Barry Cooper of the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency says there has been at least 20 overdose deaths in Madison, Henderson and Humphreys counties in the past week alone.

“You really never know, if you’re buying substances off the street, what you’re going to get,” Cooper said. “You may take something one time and it may be that one time that kills you.”

Many of the overdoses have been due to individuals using heroin, marijuana or roxycontin, that tend to be laced with fentanyl. For someone that has had a history of substance abuse, Cooper says there are certain clues to look for to see if you feel someone might be back in that cycle.

“Some of the warning signs that people can see are when people begin to isolate,” Cooper said. “When people tend to miss work, repetitively missing work. When they stop doing the activities that they once enjoyed.”

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Self-care groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous are now becoming available for in-person meetings again. Substance abuse may not be the only hardship some people might be going through at that moment.

Cooper says the best, but hardest, way to take action is for someone to be willing to reach out for help.

“People are struggling financially, they’re struggling with substance abuse,” Cooper said. “They’re struggling in their marriage. All you have to do is say, ‘I need help.'”

You can find more information on what resources are available here.

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