Help Make Our Community a Better Place
Loneliness in the time of a pandemic, is real, especially for those who have taken quarantining responsibly. As this pandemic continues, studies have seen an increase in depression and an overall decrease in our mental well-being. People are abusing drugs and alcohol at higher levels and coping with their deteriorating mental health in unhealthy ways.

 How can we increase our well-being during this time?

We would like to hear from you. Send us your thoughts and ideas.

What ways have you found to enhance your overall mental health and helped family and friends elevate their loneliness?
Send your answers to this question to,

Carey Pomykata
Executive Director, Coalition Rx
In The News
2020: The Deadliest Year In Drug History
By Krystina Murray, Addiction Center
"The year 2020 has not only been deemed the deadliest year in American history but also a dangerous and deadly year for substance abuse. America has been fighting the impact of the Opioid Crisis previous to 2020. While many states lost Americans to drugs like Heroin, Fentanyl, and prescription medications, states like Virginia, Ohio, and Oregon have lost many more.

2020 death tolls have alarmed many and has gained the year the reputation of being the “deadliest year in American history.” Interestingly, the Centers of Disease Control predicted higher numbers of deaths to occur throughout the year. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has ended the lives of over 318,000 Americans in 9 months, is a major influence on high death tolls.

While much research is being done to understand the connection between 2020-related substance abuse and the effects of COVID-19, both the pandemic and drug overdoses have greatly contributed to many lost lives in 2020.
In addition to such effects of the pandemic, declining mental health due to COVID-19 infections and adjustments has encouraged more substance abuse to occur. As a result, drug abuse and suicide have contributed to the high number of deaths. Sadly, numbers are expected to rise to 3.2 million by the end of 2020. Lastly, deaths from conditions like dementia, diabetes, and cardiac problems have been also connected to 2020 increases in death.

Drug statistics have drastically shifted when compared to previous years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “After declining 4.1% from 2017 and 2018, overdoses have increased 18.2% from the 12 months ending in June 2019.” Another source echoes a similar finding. According to United Press International (UPI), drug abuse and suicide rates increased 170% between 2009 and 2018; however the spread of COVID-19 has caused sharp increases in such findings. As a result, studies noticed a 59% increase in alcohol use, increases in Opioid overdoses and rises in suicidal thoughts.

Additional statistics include 81,000 reported drug overdoses in a 12-month period during 2020, becoming the highest ever recorded in a year. The awareness is causing media outlets to spread the word in order to educate people. Essential workers in the medical field use Naloxone to try and revive those who overdosed on Opioids.”

Addiction in The Pandemic: Overdose Deaths Surge as Coronavirus Adds to The Opioid Crisis.
By Corinne Boyer, Ohio Resource.
“Terrance D. has been sober for more than 15 years and Narcotics Anonymous has been a big part of his recovery. He uses a pseudonym when speaking publicly about addiction and his work with NA. 

Terrance said the bonds the group has formed are very important, and they were forged through regular social gatherings. 
“We recover in meetings together, we’ve raised our families together, our kids know one another,” he said. “We generally go to eat after meetings, or coffee or other things. We socialize together.”

But last March as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses and public places to close, the regular face-to-face contact that Terrance and his group depended on was gone.

“All that’s changed, and it was an abrupt change,” he said.
As a small business owner, the pandemic has affected him financially, but Terrance said isolation has been the hardest.

Health experts have repeatedly warned about the pandemic’s impact on mental health. In a region long plagued by the opioid epidemic, alarm rippled through the Ohio Valley’s addiction treatment community as people realized that the pandemic’s sudden disruption and isolation could lead to relapses and overdoses. 

This crisis within a crisis is especially profound for the Ohio Valley. In addition to being ground zero for the opioid epidemic, the region also suffers from some of the nation’s poorest health outcomes. Public health efforts that once focused on opioid use disorder treatment have been eclipsed by the need to address COVID-19, just as the additional stress and isolation from the pandemic both limits usual treatment options and threatens to push more people into active addiction. 

But ongoing regional efforts have helped some remain in treatment, offering some solutions for substance use disorder even in the face of the pandemic."

The More You Know
By Leah Walker, Sunrise House.
"Alcohol or drug use can contribute to the following cardiovascular issues:

  • Arrhythmia, when the heart’s rhythm is abnormal. The heart may beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or beat irregularly, such as when a heart “skips a beat.”

  • Endocarditis is inflammation of the inner lining of the heart’s chambers or the valves. Endocarditis may lead to arrhythmias, blood clots, valve damage or heart failure.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension), which makes the heart work harder than normal. Chronic hypertension can cause other issues, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and issues with the kidneys.

  • Heart attack, when the heart is beating but atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque in the arteries) causes a blockage, preventing blood from flowing into the heart. Heart attacks increase the risk of cardiac arrest, which is an electrical malfunction of the heart that causes an arrhythmia.

  • Cardiomyopathy, or thickening of the heart muscle, which and can impair the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. Cardiomyopathy can lead to arrhythmias, heart failure, issues with heart valves, and cardiac arrest.

  • Heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn’t able to pump sufficient blood to meet the needs of the body.

  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when blood vessels in the body are narrowed or blocked as a result of atherosclerosis, leading to slowed or stopped blood flow to the legs or arms. In severe cases, this can cause infection and may require amputation.

  • Stroke, which occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is blocked by plaque or other substances. A stroke can cause damage to the brain or death.

Stimulants such as cocaine affect the cardiovascular system.Cardiovascular problems can occur from both short-term and chronic use of stimulants, and chest pain is a common complaint in those seeking treatment.

Cocaine is the illicit drug most likely to cause an emergency room visit, responsible for 57% of recreational substance-related emergency room visits. use can lead to arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, heart attack, and stroke."

“Heart disease” is a broad term describing many health issues that can occur in the heart, including cardiovascular issues. Substance abuse can affect the heart beyond the cardiovascular system, and the consequences can be just as deadly. Other heart problems caused by substance abuse may include:

  • Hypertension: high blood pressure; increases risk for many heart issues
  • Arrhythmia: irregular heart rate that may become serious or fatal
  • Coronary Thrombosis: a blood clot in the heart that can lead to heart attack
  • Congestive Heart Failure: narrowed arteries lead to difficulty pumping or filling the heart
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: blood vessel in brain bursts (usually caused by hypertension)

Many of these complications are interconnected. Congestive heart failure, for example, may result from the cardiovascular condition of coronary artery disease, which is an advanced stage of atherosclerosis, a blockage of the blood vessels. Abusing substances that can have negative effects on heart health in any way can raise someone’s chance of developing cardiovascular disease.”

This month we are changing our spotlight section into something new. Each month going forward we will be highlighting a different partner.

This month we are spotlighting: Keystone Treatment Center.
Keystone Treatment Center is a substance abuse treatment center in Canton, South Dakota, that has helped thousands of people begin their road to recovery. The mission of Keystone Treatment Center is to provide quality treatment to people battling chemical dependency, people struggling with compulsive gambling and people with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders, as well as to their families.

There are connections here in Nebraska. Coalition Rx is fortunate to have Don Hoes from Keystone Treatment Center serving as our Board President. Don is the Marketing & Community Outreach Representative for Keystone Treatment Center.

Don explained how Keystone Treatment Center has unique treatment program when compared to other treatment facilities. These residential programs include adults, young adults as well as adolescents and as well as other programs. Because not many other centers offer help for teens & adolescents these programs set Keystone apart. 

Though Keystone is a great option when seeking recovery, Don Hoes made it clear the goal of treatment centers is not competition but aiding those who need it. The hardest part of recovery is deciding you need it. Please reach out if you need help.

Keystone is currently working to gather their alumni for an event. If you are an alumnus of Keystone Treatment Center please reach out to Don Hoes for information. We are proud to have Keystone Treatment Center as a partner. 
For more information on Keystone Treatment Center: Website
Don Hoes: Email
Upcoming Events
Our next community meeting is coming up! Please RSVP!
Online Programming
If you are looking for educational and engaging activities for your kids during this time of social distancing Coalition Rx has you covered! We are working hard to transition our evidence-based programming into online lessons. We are currently posting one video per program a week on our Facebook page and website.

We're also working on Zoom lessons if parents, teachers or students are interested in joining please email and we will get some class times set up!
Tammie Dickens - Too Good for Drugs Decision Making Example
Help Reduce the Misuse of Substances of Abuse
We provide three evidence-based programs for youth and families. Strengthening Families Program 10-14, Too Good For Drugs and Violence K-8 and WISE. If you are interested in these programs please check out our Facebook page for the virtual lessons we have started in the wake of social distancing guidelines.
Our next community meeting is February 18th at 1pm.

Stay tuned for more details!
Founded in 2015, our mission is to reduce the misuse of all substances of abuse by raising awareness and partnering with community organizations to provide public and professional education, prevention and treatment resources, and policy advocacy.
Carey Pomykata Executive Director
(402) 871-5622