COVID-19 may dominate the headlines. But another epidemic that was already raging before it arrived has flared up in recent months, too, according to new University of Michigan data.
A real-time tracking system that launched in 2019 shows a 15% rise in suspected opioid overdose deaths across most of Michigan since March, compared with the same time last year, and a 29% rise in first responders’ use of a rescue drug called naloxone that can reverse an opioid overdose if given in time. The deaths started rising soon after the pandemic arrived in Michigan, while naloxone use dipped before rising to new heights later in the spring and summer.
The system, run by the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center and created in partnership with the Michigan HIDTA, a federal program that tracks drug trafficking, gathers data from EMS agencies and medical examiners across most of Michigan.