To help battle the opioid crisis, Medical City Healthcare installed permanent drug take-back boxes in 12 of its hospitals in 2019. These boxes allow North Texans to safely and anonymously drop off unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications, including opioids, at their convenience. Additionally, select Medical City hospitals host an annual “Crush the Crisis” event in partnership with North Texas law enforcement agencies. The October 2021 event, held in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, collected more than 1,600 pounds of medications, up from 1,200 pounds the previous year.
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the opioid crisis.
Overdose deaths were already rising in 2019 before COVID-19 hit the U.S., according to the CDC, and their numbers confirm an acceleration of deaths during the pandemic. The latest numbers available from the CDC show that in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, there were nearly 98,000 reported drug overdose deaths — the highest number recorded in a 12-month period to date.
In a November 2021 brief, the American Medical Association reported that the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the nation’s drug overdose epidemic and that every state has reported a spike or increase in overdose deaths or other problems. According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, 1 in 5 Texans have experienced an opioid overdose or know someone who has. The agency has launched a statewide public health effort in response.
CDC experts suggest the acceleration in pandemic-era overdose deaths might be due to stressors related to the disruptions in daily life.
There is some encouraging news.
A U.S. News and World Report article from October 2021 highlighted the dramatic increase in telehealth services across all medical fields, noting that the ability to connect remotely may particularly benefit people struggling from substance abuse. To make its behavioral health services more accessible to more people, Medical City Healthcare offers tele-psychiatry services in addition to the full range of traditional treatment options.
If you or someone you know is having a mental health emergency, call 911 immediately or head to your nearest ER.
Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services for adults and children across North Texas.
At Medical City Healthcare, we're dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you'll Take Care!