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Alabama sees a 30 percent spike in drug overdose deaths during pandemic

Mike Woods tells our reporter, “It sees no money, it sees no color. It just sees despair and it will take you as deep as you want it to.”

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — Since the pandemic started, Alabama has seen a major spike in the number of people dying from drug overdoses.

Our Sydney Stallworth takes us to one organization that's fighting to save lives right here in Huntsville. 

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31.3 percent: That’s the increase Alabama has seen in the number of drug-related overdose deaths since the start of the pandemic and we’re seeing higher numbers right here in the Tennessee Valley.

We met with Mike Woods, a Certified Recovery Support Specialist with Partnership for a Drug Free Community. He tells our reporter, “It doesn’t surprise me when you think about what the people are going through nowadays. The more they’re at home, the more they’re not working, the more they’re cut off from the world, the more they’re going to do.” 

Partnership for a Drug Free Community is a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ non-profit in Huntsville that’s been doing some big work over the years to help our neighbors struggling with addiction and substance abuse. 

The group has kept a close eye on the number of overdoses we’ve seen in the county since April 2020. 

Mike Woods says, “In Madison County there’s 12 still under investigation. That’s a lot when you think about adding that to the 78 already. We had a long year last year.” 

One week back in April 2020 stands out in Mike’s memory with a high number of reported overdoses. 

He says, “There were 13 calls and out of that, 12 people were revived with Narcan and one wasn’t. And that was just one week.” 

Narcan is used in emergencies to treat and try to reverse suspected opioid overdoses.

‘Partnership’ wants you to know addiction can affect anyone. Mike Woods tells our reporter, “It sees no money, it sees no color. It just sees despair and it will take you as deep as you want it to.” 

Partnership for a Drug Free Community took recovery services online during the pandemic. Now that more people are being vaccinated, they hope to bring support services back to the center to meet in-person. 

This team knows firsthand what a big difference this makes. 

We spoke with Laura Edwards, a Peer Support Specialist with Partnership for a Drug Free Community.  She says, “I’m in recovery and I used to be an addict. When I was addicted, I liked to isolate. Well, I don’t really like it-- but, it’s where I was. I know that during the pandemic, most people have to stay at home, they can’t work, people are having their groceries  brought to their home. So, they can’t get out there and talk to people, which is very healthy for people in recovery to do.”


Partnership for A Drug Free Community held virtual group sessions online via Zoom for those who need support. You can find the link here. You can also connect with them via their Facebook page for more resources. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available.

Crisis Services North Alabama 256-716-1000 or 1-800-691-8426

Alabama Help for Opioid Addiction 24/7 Helpline 844-307-1760 courageforall.com

Narcotics Anonymous North Alabama

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