Opiate Deaths Spike During the Holidays

November 30, 2022
opiate deaths

The holiday season should be a joyous time to reconnect with friends and family. For those with substance use disorders or mental health issues, however, the holidays may be a minefield of strong emotions, triggering gatherings and loved ones who may not realize someone is trying to cope with an addiction. This time of year often sees a dramatic spike in opiate-related deaths and overdoses, clustering around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. It is a particularly dangerous few weeks for anyone struggling with depression, anxiety or a substance use disorder.

Cumberland Heights’ Outpatient Treatment Center in Chattanooga wants to help people make it through the holidays and start the new year in a better place. Offering a 12-step-based program coupled with personalized treatment plans, our outpatient services combine the best of inpatient care with the flexibility patients need to continue working or managing their regular lives.

The Opiate Influx

The current figures from the Tennessee Department of Health are grim. Deaths and non-fatal overdoses due to opiate abuse have increased in all age groups, races and genders between 2015 and 2021 (the most recent year for complete statistics).

The primary reason for this increase is the prevalence of fentanyl. The synthetic opioid is responsible for three out of four drug deaths in Tennessee and countless overdoses. Fentanyl is lethal in minuscule amounts—less than two milligrams can be deadly. However, it is cheap, potent and easy to produce, leading illicit drug manufacturers to use it to cut heroin, oxycodone and cocaine.

According to experts, many people who die from fentanyl overdoses had no idea they were using the drug.

Taking Back Control

Breaking a serious addiction during the holidays may seem challenging. Someone with a serious addiction or a dual diagnosis like depression and substance abuse might think this is the worst possible time to go to treatment. We think it might be the best.

The Cumberland Heights Outpatient Treatment Center in Chattanooga is designed to help our patients even while they navigate the demands of work, school and family festivities. Evening sessions and telehealth meetings ensure patients will not be out of contact with counselors when they need them the most.

The risk of opioid overdose, whether accidental or intentional, increases during the holidays because of the constant pressure to “be of good cheer!” Demands to drink, eat, buy and spend time with loved ones can be especially difficult for those struggling with mental health and substance use disorder. 

When family support is not enough, there is always somewhere else to turn. Our Chattanooga outpatient program is here for East Tennesseans who need a program that lets them keep working and attending to their daily lives.

For more information, contact our Chattanooga outpatient center. We’ll be in touch to help you start your new year with new hope.

Take the first step in a life free from addiction. Begin your recovery today.

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