WTEN: Marking Overdose Awareness Day Amid Pandemic-Related Spike

Jason Kirby, D.O., medical director for St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center and Chief of Behavioral Health for SPHP, appeared on WTEN/News10 in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31.

Dr. Kirby discussed challenges to addiction treatment as well as the dramatic increase in overdose deaths attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the story:

Over the pandemic, addiction care went virtual and left those already vulnerable at a breaking point.

“This disease is hallmarked by isolation, so what’s treatment? Well, the exact opposite of isolation, which is connection,” said Dr. Jason Kirby of St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center. He says experts knew isolation would cause a spike in overdose deaths.

“We weren’t expecting that it was going to be as dramatic as what it was,” he said.

Overdoses rose more than 30% in 2020 according to the CDC and fentanyl was involved in most of them.

“The majority of the heroin that’s on the streets right now is fentanyl. It’s about 10 times more potent than heroin and therefore 10 times more deadly. It’s Russian roulette every single time that folks go on the street,” he said.

Click here to watch WTEN’s report.

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