Overdoses in Kent County are on the rise and could potentially pass 2018 and 2019 numbers.

The pandemic has contributed to the elevated numbers. Medical professionals cite the isolation caused by the pandemic as a contributing factor as to why more people are turning to drugs and alcohol. According to the Kent County Health Department there have been 78 drug and alcohol related deaths through October 2020.

Dr. Cara Poland, Medical Director of Addiction Medicine at Spectrum Health and Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, told WXMI TV,

"Right now in our community we are seeing an increase in substance use disorders. We're seeing an increase in rates of substance use of both in opioids and alcohol we can point to that more easily."

There were 109 drug overdose deaths in Kent County in 2019. Fentanyl played a role in 64% of the deaths. At this time last year, there were 3 overdose deaths in one day. The CDC has revealed that there have been more than 81,000 deaths across the United States through May 2020.

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