GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics in November that showed a more than 28% nationwide increase in drug overdose deaths during the pandemic. According to Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley, a shelter serving the area’s homeless community, those with limited access to resources and treatment options are particularly vulnerable.
Greg Moore, executive director of Homeward Bound, explained that the pandemic has made the challenges facing homeless people, including drug addiction and drug addiction, even more difficult to manage. “There was a big impact. Services have become more difficult to access. For our part, we were fortunate to be able to open the Pathways Family Health Center, so we integrated a medical and behavioral care clinic on site, ”said Moore.
Dr Sara Polley of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation explained that another factor at play is the presence of dangerous substances like fentanyl in illegal drugs, which can often have serious consequences for users. “In particular, fentanyl is something that we see a lot now, both in Colorado and nationally, where our patients don’t know the substances they are using contain fentanyl, and so they overdose. and die accidentally. “
According to Moore, there are often more options for those who have problems with insurance and other resources than for those who do not. “This is something that affects the whole community and will require the whole community to work together to find viable solutions and pathways for people who are stuck in this cycle with no hope to get out of it. “
From 2020 to 2021, more than 1,600 people in Colorado died from overdoses in the state of Colorado, which Dr. Polley described as a significant increase – about 40% more than in previous years.
For more information on addiction services available in Colorado through the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, click here. To learn more about Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley resources available to the homeless, click here.
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