The Impact of the Corona Crisis on Mental Health: Suicides, Drug Overdose, Alcoholism

The following text is Chapter VI of Prof. Chossudovsky’s E-Book.

To access the full document consisting of ten Chapters, click below:

The 2020 Worldwide Corona Crisis: Destroying Civil Society, Engineered Economic Depression, Global Coup d’État and the “Great Reset”

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky 



The corona virus mental health predicament of several million people Worldwide is the result of

  • social engineering including confinement, isolation, social distancing and the mask,
  • the incessant 24/7 fear campaign waged by the media and the governments,
  • the spike in unemployment, mass poverty and despair triggered by the Worldwide destabilization of national economies.

Psychiatrists have addressed the “negative impacts” on mental health pertaining to the factors mentioned above. Confirmed by peer reviewed reports, the lockdowns have also been conducive to triggering depression, uncertainty, and anxiety.

“There is concern the Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on the mental health of the general population through a range of suggested mechanisms: fear, uncertainty, and anxiety; social distancing/isolation; loneliness; and economic repercussions”

The overall picture of the impacts of the corona crisis on mental health is yet to be fully addressed. Our analysis will focus on the following issues for which data is available:

  1. the dramatic increase in suicides Worldwide in countries where the lockdown was imposed,
  2. the increase in mortality attributable to drug overdose (cocaine, opioids),
  3. the rise in alcoholism resulting from a hike in alcohol consumption.

Worldwide Rise in Suicides

The frequency of suicides has increased in numerous countries. The complete data and tendencies remain to be firmly established. US data on suicides in 2020 (CDC) are not yet available. In 2019, suicides were the 10th leading cause of death in the US, 47,511 Americans died by suicide. In 2019, there were an estimated 1.38M suicide attempts. (See AFSP statistics)

Suicides in the US

A CDC sponsored peer reviewed report (Mark É. Czeisler, Rashon I. Lane, Emiko Petrosky, et al) suggests that the loss of employment and purchasing power by “vulnerable” social and low income groups often triggers a wave of depression and anxiety, which results in “suicide ideation”(thinking about different ways to die). The authors confirm that:

Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020 [in the immediate aftermath of the mid March 2020 lockdown], compared with the same period in 2019 (1,2). ….

The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey (10.7%) was significantly higher among respondents aged 18–24 years (25.5%), minority racial/ethnic groups (Hispanic respondents [18.6%], non-Hispanic black [black] respondents [15.1%]), self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults (30.7%), and essential workers (21.7%).

Another study confirms that: Social distancing/ isolation and loneliness‘ resulting from the lockdown policies are factors which may contribute to suicide:

“Secondary consequences of social distancing may increase the risk of suicide,” researchers noted in an April 10 paper published by the American Medical Association. “It is important to consider changes in a variety of economic, psycho-social, and health-associated risk factors.” (See FEE)

Essentially, researchers warned, forced isolation could prove to be “a perfect storm” for suicide. (emphasis added)

The central issue –which is not always addressed by the peer reviewed reports— is how the engineered loss of employment and purchasing power coupled with confinement leads to depression and despair.

Anxiety and depression resulting from unemployment and loss of income is a Worldwide phenomenon, unprecedented in World history. Country by country, one can observe similar tendencies. Low income developing countries such as India are experiencing a situation of total despair affecting large sectors of an impoverished population.

Suicides in India

The lockdown in India has been conducive to a spike in suicides which is a consequence of: “severe hardship … as entire livelihoods have come undone, amid an escalating job crisis”.

“It should come as little surprise then that the spectre of suicide has raised its ugly head, with spikes in reports of people, who see no change in fortune on the horizon, taking their own lives.”

The Brookings Institute has also addressed the role of the the corona crisis in triggering suicides in India:

Anecdotal evidence for India, meanwhile, suggests increases in rural suicides. India instituted one of the world’s strictest lockdowns amidst high rates of poverty. … Lockdowns resulted in millions of more Indians entering poverty and exacerbated one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The additional numbers of suicides are estimated to be well into the thousands.

Suicides in Japan

Within a different context, the developed high income countries are also experiencing an unprecedented rise in suicides. In Japan, a significant increase in the number of suicides were recorded in the wake of the lockdown:

“Far more Japanese people are dying of suicide, likely exacerbated by the economic and social repercussions of the pandemic, than of the COVID-19 disease itself. …  Provisional statistics from the National Police Agency show suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone, marking the fourth straight month of increase.”CBS November 2020 report  (emphasis added)

Deaths Resulting from Drug Overdose

The main drug opioid categories (CDC) are as follows:

  • illegal heroin,
  • synthetic opioids such as fentanyl,
  • so-called “pain relievers” including oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®),
  • codeine,
  • morphine,
  • etc.

The drugs listed above are “chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain” (CDC).

Recorded in 2020, the corona crisis has contributed to a significant increase in both opioid and cocaine sales. According to the CDC:

Synthetic opioids ([categorized by the CDC as] primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl) appear to be the primary driver of the increases in overdose deaths, increasing 38.4 percent from the 12-month period leading up to June 2019 compared with the 12-month period leading up to May 2020.  …

Overdose deaths involving cocaine also increased by 26.5 percent. … Overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine [produced by GSM], increased by 34.8 percent. The number of deaths involving psychostimulants now exceeds the number of cocaine-involved deaths. (CDC December 2020 Report) (emphasis added)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in December 2020  “that the pandemic may have contributed to “a rise in deadly drug overdoses”. While the data is incomplete, the CDC report confirms a sizeable increase in the number of deaths attributable to drug overdose (related to consumption of cocaine and opioids):

Drug overdoses were linked to more than 81,000 people’s deaths between June 2019 and May 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, jumping 18 percent compared to the previous 12-month period. Such deaths rose 20 percent or more in 25 states and the District of Columbia, the report said. (PBS report)

The  CDC graph based on both the predicted as well reported values (ie. numbers) of deaths attributed to drug overdoses reveals the that the monthly count started to accelarate in February 2020.

In April, 2,146 people died of opioid overdose, followed by 3,388 deaths in May, marking the largest monthly increases since 2015 when the federal government began collecting this data. (quoted in PBS report)

The following graph indicates the US monthly data. In the months prior to the corona crisis (July 2019 to January 2020), the monthly drug overdose death count was substantially below 1000.

The hike starts in February (coinciding with the financial crash). Following the mid-March lock down, drug overdose deaths go fly high.

In May 2020 the overdose death count was in excess of 3000, i.e. a more than three fold increase in relation to the  drug overdose deaths recorded prior to the corona crisis.  In the US, the recorded monthly drug overdose deaths in 2020 have more than tripled.


Graph based on CDC data quoted above, Source PBS


Opioid Related Deaths in Ontario

The tendency in Canada is consistent with that observed in the US. A dramatic increase in opioid related deaths was recorded in Ontario following the March 17, 2020 lockdown emergency which was coupled with mass unemployment following the closing down of economic activity:

The number of opioid-related deaths increased quickly in the weeks following the state of emergency declaration in Ontario on March 17, 2020. Overall, there was a 38.2% increase in opioid-related deaths in the first 15 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic (695 deaths; average of 46 deaths weekly) compared to the 15 weeks immediately prior (503 deaths; average of 34 deaths weekly).


Source: Screenshot Public Health Ontario

The following graph provides a clearcut picture of the dramatic rise in opioid overdose emergency visits in Ottawa starting from January 2020 through December 2020.


The Production and Trade in Opioids

According to UN sources, Afghanistan currently produces 94% percent of the World’s opium supply, which is transformed into heroin, morphine as well pharmaceutical opioids. The heroin trade is protected. US military presence in Afghanistan plays a key role. It’s a multibillion dollar operation involving both the Drug Cartels (illegal heroin) and (indirectly) Big Pharma  which is involved in the sale and distribution of pharmaceutical opioids.

Several Big Pharma’s companies involved in the marketing of the Covid-19 vaccine including Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson are also involved in the highly profitable and (legal) sale of pharmaceutical opioids, which in the course of the corona crisis (2020-2021) have become one of the main causes of drug overdose.

Corrupt Big Pharma Companies

Local communities across America took a stance against the Pharma Giants in regards to opioids. In 2019.  The Purdue opioid multibillion dollar settlement was reached “with thousands of [US] cities and counties”,

In October [2020], Oxycontin-maker Purdue admitted to enabling the supply of drugs “without legitimate medical purpose”, paying doctors and others illegal kickbacks to prescribe the drugs, among other claims. It agreed to pay $8.3bn.


More recently at the height of the corona crisis (November 2020):

“Four major Big Pharma distributors  (Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, Amerisource Bergen) involved in the production (J &  J) and distribution of prescription opioids  “reached a tentative $26 billion settlement with counties and cities that sued them for damages”.


The settlement was referred to as the “Opioid Epidemic”. What relationship to the corona crisis?

These same Pharma distributors benefited from the spike in the sales of opioids resulting from the lockdown, which in turn contributed to a significant increase in drug overdose deaths in the course of 2020-2021. (see graph above)

In a bitter irony, the spike in drug overdose has led to increased profits for Big Pharma”.


Drug abuse and alcoholism are often related.

Drug and alcohol abuse have increased with COVID, and so has suicide. Help hotlines are flooded and certain statistics — online alcohol sales increased in the U.S. by over 200% — paint a dark picture.”

“Addiction is skyrocketing. says addiction therapist Cindi Brand, who worked formerly with CAMH.

The pandemic has increased all forms of anxiety and stress even … Social distancing means people with addiction issues “can’t possibly get the help they need right now,” she says. (emphasis added).

Increase in Sales of alcohol

An upward trend in alcoholism during the corona crisis in the US is confirmed by a significant increase in the sale of alcohol. According to a Nielsen study, the stay at home orders in March 2020 resulted in “a 54% increase in national sales of alcohol for the week ending March 21, 2020, compared with 1 year before; online sales increased 262% from 2019.”

A RAND corporation sample survey study conducted with the support of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) consisted in comparing adults’ drinking habits in 2019 with those prevailing during the corona crisis (2020):

“American adults have sharply increased their consumption of alcohol during the shutdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, with women increasing their heavy drinking episodes (four or more drinks within a couple of hours) by 41%” (RAND Corporation study)

A national survey found that the overall frequency of alcohol consumption increased by 14% among adults over age 30, compared to the same time last year. The increase was 19% among all adults aged 30 to 59, 17% among women, and 10% among for non-Hispanic white adults. (Rand Corporation)

While the Rand Corporation study on drinking habits reveals an increase in the consumption of alcohol, the results must be interpreted with caution. The recorded increase in the actual sale of alcohol (54%) was significantly higher than the estimated increase in drinking, based on the Rand sample survey. Concurrently, however, under the lockdown, consumption of alcohol has largely been taking place in homes, rather than in (closed) bars and restaurants.

According to Michael Pollard, lead author of the study at RAND: “People’s depression increases, anxiety increases, [and] alcohol use is often a way to cope with these feelings.”


The above text is Chapter VI of Prof. Chossudovsky’s E-Book.

To access the full document consisting of ten chapters, click below:

The 2020 Worldwide Corona Crisis: Destroying Civil Society, Engineered Economic Depression, Global Coup d’État and the “Great Reset”


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About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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