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Overdoses and alcohol-related deaths rising during pandemic

September 23, 2020 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) — State officials in Maryland say fatal drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths are rising.

The Baltimore Sun reported that new data released on Tuesday revealed that such deaths increased by 9.1% from January to June of this year compared to those months last year.

Opioids were responsible for nearly 90% of the 1,326 deaths.

Officials from the Maryland Department of Health and the state’s Opioid Operational Command Center said that the pandemic is exacerbating people’s addictions as they’re quarantined.

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“Taken together, the associated social isolation, disruptions of support, impeded access to care, and economic distress have helped to create an extremely dangerous environment for those suffering from substance use disorder,” a report said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan touted the creation of the Maryland COVID-19 Inter-Agency Overdose Action Plan to help address the connection between substance abuse and the pandemic.

“In spite of the other challenges that we face, our dedication to reversing the devastation of the opioid crisis has not wavered,” he said in a statement.