We described the change in drug overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in one urban emergency medical services (EMS) system. Data was collected from Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis), including EMS calls for service (CFS) for suspected overdose, CFS in which naloxone was administered, and fatal overdose data from the County Coroner’s Office. With two sample t tests and ARIMA time series forecasting, we showed changes in the daily rates of calls (all EMS CFS, overdose CFS, and CFS in which naloxone was administered) before and after the stay-at-home order in Indianapolis. We further showed differences in the weekly rate of overdose deaths. Overdose CFS and EMS naloxone administration showed an increase with the social isolation of the Indiana stay-at-home order, but a continued increase after the stay-at-home order was terminated. Despite a mild 4% increase in all EMS CFS, overdose CFS increased 43% and CFS with naloxone administration increased 61% after the stay-at-home order. Deaths from drug overdoses increased by 47%. There was no change in distribution of age, race/ethnicity, or zip code of those who overdosed after the stay-at-home order was issued. We hope this data informs policy-makers preparing for future COVID-19 responses and other disaster responses.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on drug overdoses in Indianapolis
Glober, N., Mohler, G., Huynh, P., Arkins, T., O'Donnell, D., Carter, J., & Ray, B. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on drug overdoses in Indianapolis. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 802-807. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11524-020-00484-0