Eagles Nest expands as overdose deaths soar

Floyd’s Eagles Nest Regeneration, a faith-based substance use rehabilitation facility for men, expanded its outreach program in October after receiving licensure that allowed the facility to add an additional 20 beds. ENR now has a total of 43 beds and hopes to reach a total of 75 within the next three years, according to Director of Outreach Will Curtis.

Between May 2019 and May 2020, there were more than 81,000 overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC, and “while overdose deaths were already increasing in the months preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest numbers suggest an acceleration of overdose deaths during the pandemic.”

Overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased more than 38 percent during the same time period, deaths involving cocaine increased by 26.5 percent and deaths involving psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine, increased by nearly 35 percent, according to the CDC.

Jason Cox, a coordinator and lead certified peer recovery specialist for Substance Abuse and Recovery Alliance of Virginia, said that the COVID-19 pandemic “kind of exploited some of the weaknesses (of SAARA programs) and allowed community members to connect on a different level.”

SAARA of Virginia is a Richmond-based organization that strives to “transform Virginia communities through hope, education, and advocacy for addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery,” according to its website.

“There could be a treatment center on every block, but it wouldn’t matter until someone is ready (for) a deep personal commitment (to sobriety),” Cox said. “For those that are really ready to give up that way of life, there are plenty of resources out there, even during the pandemic.”

He added that overdose-related deaths are “dramatically higher” since the beginning of the pandemic. A meeting with Chesterfield County law enforcement, which took place within the past four months, revealed that 100 percent of recently seized street drugs contained fentanyl.

Read the full article on the SWVA Today website.