The crisis of COVID-19 has resulted in severe illnesses and countless deaths and has also brought many of the country’s healthcare systems to their knees. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions have been stressed to their breaking points. As an example, financial burdens experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic caused Fairmont Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in Marion County, West Virginia to close permanently. The 207 bed acute care facility had more than 500 employees, and area residents must now travel up to 40 minutes to reach the closest medical center.
More than three-quarters of a million people have died in the United States from a drug overdose since 1999. Most of those from opioids. Today, drug overdoses have been driven to unprecedented levels due to the economic shock, social isolation, and increased mental health distress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.