The drug deaths are adding to the pandemic’s toll, which includes more than 188,000 infection-related fatalities, but also other deaths linked to factors such as disruptions in health care and economic dislocation.
“It’s a pretty stark reality here,” said David Sternberg, clinical-services manager at the nonprofit group HIPS in Washington, D.C., which helps keep drug users safe and find treatment. “We’ve lost a lot of clients, a lot of patients.”
Moreover, social-distancing limitations are complicating treatment for people who struggle with addiction and for the organizations that provide services to them.
Benjamin Kief died of an opioid overdose on April 7 while in his car in West Chester, Pa. After serving time for a parole violation, the 30-year-old left a state prison in late March, when the pandemic was ramping up. He struggled to get an appointment with a recovery coach, said his mother, Mary Kief