ROANOKE, Va. – Alarming new numbers are shedding light on the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic on another public health crisis: addiction.
Nationwide, drug overdoses have surged during the pandemic and the Roanoke Valley is experiencing the same trend.
It’s a crisis within a crisis, affecting more of our neighbors than ever before.
“It could be in a bathroom in a restaurant downtown, it could be at an intersection in South Roanoke, it could be at a house in Northwest, it could be in a parking lot in old Southwest,” Roanoke Fire-EMS Chief David Hoback said.
Hoback is sounding the alarm about what’s become a routine call in the Star City.
“Sometimes we’ll pull up and we have two and three and four people that have overdosed and some of them are not breathing,” Hoback said.
Drug overdoses in Roanoke from 2019 to 2020 were up at least 25%. Roanoke Fire-EMS reported 639 last year.
“That’s just the ones they’re calling us on. Understand, we’re only getting once we get called where people are having medical problems. I can’t even imagine what is going on in our community through the stuff that we don’t get calls on,” Hoback said.