When all of the deaths and ruined lives are tallied, I remain certain that the impact of our reaction to COVID will have been much worse than the disease itself.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says there is a seasonality when it comes to opioid overdoses. However, the department did see a growing trend overall across the state in recent years.
According to the Wisconsin Ambulance Runs Data System, in 2018 statewide, there were 1,268 opioid overdose ambulance runs in the first quarter of the year. In the first quarter of 2019, that number was 1,208. In 2020, that number jumped to 1,869, and increased further in the first quarter of 2021 to 1,963.
When looking at the statewide average number of opioid overdose ambulance runs per month by quarter, the second and third quarters of 2020, and the first quarter of 2021, had the first, second, and third highest numbers in the past three years, respectively. Those quarters correspond with the onset of COVID-19 restrictions and life during the pandemic.