CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Health experts say the coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on another issue in the United States: drug abuse.
Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges shows suspected drug overdoses were up 18% from March to May.
Some lawmakers say things like job loss and social isolation are putting additional stress on those who are already fighting addiction. Now, West Virginia’s senators are putting pressure on the Drug Enforcement Administration to do something about it.
“And now we see the results of that, having more fatalities and more overdoses than ever before. And it’s happening during the pandemic,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.).
Manchin’s Republican colleague Sen. Shelley Moore Capito agrees.
“All the strides that we’ve made in the past in terms of Naloxone and other measures that we’ve done to try to lessen the problems of addiction have really been wiped out unfortunately under this pandemic,” said Capito.
They’re calling on the DEA to crack down on opioid distributors.
“The DEA is supposed to stop that from happening and anybody who doesn’t report to the DEA is in federal violation. Do your job, DEA,” said Manchin.
DEA officials responded to the Manchin’s calls for change in a statement.
“DEA’s mission of enforcing the nation’s drug laws and battling the opioid crisis continues without interruption, despite the global pandemic,” according to an administration spokesperson.