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Deadliest year for drug overdoses; new CDC data shows alarming numbers

Horizon Behavioral Health (WSET)
Horizon Behavioral Health (WSET)
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Drug deaths are up nearly 30% from 2019, with 100,000 deaths across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Virginia saw more than 2,000 deaths in 2020.

Virginia Department of Health data showed that drug overdose deaths in the Lynchburg-Roanoke-Danville area in 2020 were as follows:

  • Lynchburg: 20
  • Danville: 14
  • Roanoke: 96

The numbers for the first half of 2021 are:

  • Lynchburg: 14
  • Danville: 9
  • Roanoke: 45

As for what's behind this record-breaking spike:

"The COVID epidemic has increased isolation for our people that are in recovery. It's increased lots of mental health disorders," said Marianne Powell, outpatient program manager for Horizon Behavioral Health.

SEE ALSO: Lynchburg recovery organizations spread awareness about substance abuse

The COVID-19 pandemic also hurt organizations working to help those with substance use disorders.

"In a time of isolation, depression hits. Services were limited, but still out there. 12-step meetings aren't available as abundantly as they were. You know, it's tough," said Mark Bogia, Roads2Recovery chief administrative officer.

Bogia said another epidemic is also creating this surge, fentanyl.

"It's responsible for like 64 to 65 percent of all the overdoses. So you are playing Russian roulette with your life," said Bogia.

SEE ALSO: North Carolina officer comforts 1-year-old after parents overdose in car

"The reality of that is scary for a lot of people. We've had some clients overdose on methamphetamine because of the fentanyl that was in their system," said Jennifer Phelps, a Horizon Behavioral Health substance abuse counselor.

However, there is hope for those struggling.

"Recovery is possible. We're here to help you, right here in town," said Bogia.

RELATED: Addiction counselors highlight importance of seeking professional help in recovery

Bogia said if you are struggling with substance use, the first step of recovering is seeking help and speaking out.

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If you want to find resources in your area, visit Horizon Behavioral Health or Roads2Recovery for a variety of support and recovery programs.

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