COVID-19 has created the greatest mental health, substance abuse, and overdose crisis across Florida and nationwide in U.S. history.

The opioid crisis
Before the pandemic, more than 450,000 people lost their lives at the hands of prescription and illicit opioids in the past decade. Since then, the societal ramifications of COVID-19 have caused the opioid crisis to reach new heights. [Insert newest data] Our youth are most likely to suffer from mental health and substance abuse leading to a disproportionate of young lives lost during the pandemic.


In 2020, deaths of despair have reached unprecedented levels due to the rising mental health crisis causing an increase in feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety that are leading people to turn to substances as a solution to their pain. As a result, a historic amount of young people we know and care about are losing their lives in record-breaking numbers this year – and the numbers are only increasing.

  • Overdoses are up 62% in 2020 from last year
  • Substance abuse has surged 57% since the pandemic began due to increased stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • About 40% of adults are struggling with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, or increased substance abuse according to reports from June
  • One in four individuals under the age of 25 have contemplated suicide since March.
  • Suicide hotline calls have risen by 47% nationwide, with some experiencing an increase upwards of 300% to 900%
It is important to remember the stakes of this crisis are not political – they are people lives.
Although the future of the opioid crisis may seem bleak, there are new strategies leaders can embrace to prevent overdose and save lives in their communities.