"The drug became his friend": Pandemic drives opioid deaths

In the six months since Covid-19 brought the nation to a standstill, the opioid epidemic has taken a sharp turn for the worse. More than 40 states have recorded increases in opioid-related deaths since the pandemic began, according to the American Medical Association. In Arkansas, the use of Narcan, an overdose-reversing drug, has tripled. Jacksonville, Fla., has seen a 40 percent increase in overdose-related calls. In March alone, York County in Pennsylvania recorded three times more overdose deaths than normal.

For Mr. Cameron, the shutdown of daily life in the spring not only led him back to drugs, but led him to use alone — an especially dangerous proposition.

“Usually he would use with somebody, especially if it’s a different dealer or different batch,” said his mother, Tara Reil. “I don’t think he had that person to use with, to have that safety net.”