Data from the Tennessee Department of Health’s Drug Overdose Reporting System suggests the distribution of the second coronavirus relief package may result in a spike in opioid overdoses, said officials.
According to the Drug Overdose Reporting System, opioid overdoses spiked over 30 percent state-wide in the May and June months of 2020 following COVID-19 shutdowns, and the initial coronavirus relief package. Since the spike, opioid overdoses have pronouncedly decreased per month, but Hamilton County Coalition’s Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist Vanessa Spotts saw the announcement of a second stimulus package as an opportunity to get ahead of a potential problem.
“Our first concern was contacting law enforcement and emergency services across the 10 counties we serve in Southeast Tennessee to ensure they are well supplied with Narcan and resources on treatment and recovery,” Ms. Spotts said. “We’re also continuing to work with our community partners to identify and target areas and individuals that might be high-risk to provide as many resources as possible to save and change lives.”
Hamilton County Coalition’s overdose prevention resources like Narcan trainings, prescription medication lockboxes, and Deterra Drug Deactivation Pouches are free to the public and located on its website www.hccoalition.org.
Hamilton County Coalition also houses the Nu-Start Program and Lifeline Peer Project. Nu-Start provides treatment and recovery options for individuals and families in Hamilton County overcoming opioid dependency, while Lifeline Peer Project works in all counties in Tennessee to connect people to treatment, reduce stigma related to the disease of addiction, and increase access to substance abuse recovery services like Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.