Combatting the opioid epidemic is key for Alabama’s future

By Katie Britt
Republican candidate for
Alabama U.S. Senator

Tuesday, Aug. 31, marks Overdose Awareness Day across the globe. This annual international campaign brings much needed attention to a topic that is critical for Alabama, touching every community in our state regardless of zip code.
This is a crisis that is personal for so many Alabama families; the victims are moms and daughters, sons and fathers, grandchildren and friends, and colleagues and neighbors.
To those struggling with substance abuse, know that you are not alone and that there are resources and people out there to help you. Addiction is not a failing; it is a treatable illness from which you can recover.
Preliminary numbers show that our state experienced 980 drug overdose deaths in 2020, an increase of about 27% from 2019. These numbers suggest the pandemic had a significant negative effect on overdoses, as numbers had actually dipped slightly from 2018 to 2019.
One trend that is clear, pandemic or not, is that the opioid epidemic is the primary driver of overdoses in Alabama. Nearly half of the 775 reported drug overdose deaths in Alabama involved opioids in 2018. Last year, that percentage actually ticked up, with 581 of the 2020 drug overdose deaths being opioid-related.

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