A city wrestled down an addiction crisis. Then came COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic killed more than a half-million Americans, it also quietly inflamed what was before it one of the country’s greatest public health crises: addiction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 88,000 people died of drug overdoses in the 12 months ending in August 2020 — the latest figures available. That is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a year.
Larrecsa Cox, who leads the Quick Response Team whose mission is to save every citizen who survives an overdose from the next one, peers around a stairwell while walking through an abandoned home frequented by people struggling with addiction, in Huntington, W.Va., Thursday, March 18, 2021. As the COVID pandemic killed more than a half-million Americans, it also quietly worsened what was before it the country’s greatest public health crisis: addiction and despair. (AP Photo/David Goldman)