New CDC report shows rising overdose deaths in Colorado

A new report from the CDC shows that overdose deaths in Colorado increased drastically over the course of the pandemic.
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 6:23 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A new report from the CDC shows that overdose deaths in Colorado increased drastically over the course of the pandemic.

1,655 Coloradans died of an overdose between April 2020 and April 2021. That represents a 34% increase from the previous year. During the 12-month period ending in April 2020 there were 1,230 overdose deaths and between April 2018 and April 2019 overdose deaths did not even reach 1,000.

Experts a the Friendly Harbor Community Center in Pueblo say the pandemic exacerbated a problem that was already plaguing our state.

They tell me the isolation and jobs loss that came along with the pandemic can be direct cause of depression and addictive behavior.

There are resources available to the growing number of Coloradans struggling with addiction. These range from harm reduction measures like fentanyl test strips and Narcan, an emergency nasal spray that can stop an opioid overdose, to peer support services that address addiction at its source.

“Harm reduction is a hot topic. Whether we are talking about needle exchanges, or availability of Narcan, or safe places for addicts to be. Yes there are two sides to that coin it is a tough conversation but the good news is that it’s happening. The one thing we can do that is not as politically charged is we can address stigma.” Says Michelle Hill of Friendly Harbor.

The center is staffed by former addicts who act as peer mentors to those hoping to conquer their own addiction. Their mission is to change the cultural stigma around drug addiction and mental illness by letting those who are suffering know that they should not be afraid to seek help.

Other available resources include Colorado Wellness Recovery which is designed to help Coloradans struggling with substance abuse disorders. If you or a loved one is in crisis and needs help immediately you are encourage to call Colorado Crisis Services.

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