What About the Opioid Epidemic?

pills-824994_1920 - pixabay - 4.16.20The coronavirus pandemic has demanded immediate attention and swift action to stop its spread which to some extent has overshadowed the opioid epidemic, those that may succumb to their addiction while under isolation, and the continued need to improve access to substance use disorder treatment. 

A post from Health Affairs Blog highlights how the necessary actions taken to stem the coronavirus pandemic have placed those suffering from addiction at risk of relapse and self-medication:

However, public health precautions such as social distancing and self-quarantine—necessary measures, by all accounts, to contain the spread of COVID-19—are more than inconveniences to a person struggling with addiction. They are risk factors for relapse that can impede access to highly regulated but critical medications such as methadone and buprenorphine. The fear and uncertainty associated with social and economic distress, along with mandated isolation, can aggravate anxiety and depression—and many people will self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to ease the stress.

The article continues by discussing the dearth of doctors providing medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders and how the opioid epidemic will continue rage even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides without addressing the barriers to providing treatment.

For more information:

Once The Coronavirus Pandemic Subsides, The Opioid Epidemic Will Rage (Health Affairs Blog)