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Pandemic with a Pandemic

Source: Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association News

Drug and alcohol abuse soars with COVID-19

The pandemic led to mass layoffs, isolation, and poor mental health. It became a perfect environment for drug and alcohol abuse. Americans turned to drugs and alcohol in shocking numbers, consider the following findings:

  • Drug overdose deaths topped 100,000 last year for the first time ever, with record overdose deaths each of the past two years, according to the CDC.
  • Mortality rates from alcohol use disorder were 25% higher than projected in 2020 and 22% higher in 2021, according to a study by researchers at Cedars-Sinai.
  • Canadian researchers found alcohol abuse among those who used before the pandemic increased 26%, while drug use increased 16%.

The nation's restaurants have long been havens for drinking and drug use. But the influx of dangerous new drugs like fentanyl, coupled with the stress from the pandemic and its impact, have made matters far more deadly. Restaurants now face an evolving epidemic of addiction.

The Pa. Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs offers support services and resources to help people with substance use disorder, including Just Five — a free online workforce education tool — and the Get Help Now Hotline — a confidential hotline (1-800-662-4357) staffed by trained professionals 24/7/365.In addition to the many communities offering free training, the state has two approved online training courses regarding administering naloxone.