COVID-19 pandemic contributes to increase in overdose deaths, state health officials say

Since the creation of the Opioid Command Center in January 2018 during the height of the opioid crisis, drug overdose-related deaths have fallen by nearly 20 percent in Pennsylvania, according to Barishansky. However, the trend has been flatlining since the middle of last year, continuing into 2020 and coinciding with the spread of COVID-19  — data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that overdose deaths increased by nearly 6 percent from April 2019 to April 2020.