Increasing caseloads, coronavirus safety precautions, and uncertainty leading up to a last-minute extension of the President’s Public Health Emergency declaration have left drug treatment clinics on edge.
As allowed under the emergency order drug treatment providers have instituted telehealth, bulk medication distribution, and new cleaning and PPE measures to ensure continued care for their patients, but they and their patients still face challenges, disparities, and burdens that are unique and not as readily recognized as those faced by other health care providers during the pandemic.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
Few of the state’s 88 clinics closed for any time during the pandemic, as there were fresh problems with substance use. Fatal overdoses ticked back in the first three months of 2020 after dropping in 2019 for the first time in a decade.
Hopkins’ Solaner said there has long been a disparity in resources between behavioral and medical health. The pandemic, he said, only further highlights challenges in funding. The substance abuse clinics get less protective gear. And additional services may be necessary for patients who lack stable housing or have other needs.
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