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Pandemic spike of drug overdoses in America includes Missouri and Kansas

Drug overdose saw a spike during the pandemic in both Kansas and Missouri.
Myriam Zilles
Drug overdose saw a spike during the pandemic in both Kansas and Missouri.

The pandemic brought on a multitude of issues, but one that fell by the wayside was the opioid and drug overdose crisis.

Drug overdose deaths in Kansas spiked by nearly 24% last year while overdose deaths in Missouri increased by nearly 20%, according to newly released government figures.

This issue has often been painted as a rural white affliction in the past, but demographics have been shifting as deaths surged among Black Americans.

The Associated Press reported that in the St. Louis area, overdose deaths among Black people skyrocketed more than 33% last year.

One prevailing reason for this is that the epidemic now is driven by illicit fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, meth and cocaine, often in combination or in adulterated forms.

Some say the pandemic has worsened the drug overdose epidemic, with every state reporting a spike in overdose deaths since the beginning of COVID-19.

"What COVID has done is it has increased our social isolation," said Sarah Evans of the International Harm Reduction Development for Open Society Foundations.

Evans added, "We know that people who use drugs are more likely to use them in isolation, and less likely to be able to access key resources that would help them, like overdose reversal medication, and that has exacerbated the situation."

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