Overshadowed by COVID – The opioid pandemic is still taking its toll across AmericaJune 30, 20202 min read
For more than two decades opioids have been ravaging American cities, towns, and communities. It prompted national attentions and official commissions advising the President.
But lately, as the world has turned almost all its focus on COVID-19, the opioid issue has been sitting in the shadows. Not necessarily idle or waiting, but just no longer the topic of a national conversation to find a cure.
Before COVID-19 turned our nation upside-down, policymakers were taking steps to help patients access evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder. This included focusing on removing health insurers’ barriers to medication and requiring insurers to provide parity for mental illness and substance use disorders — and holding them accountable for violations of the law in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, to name a few recent examples.
While we continue to take steps to address COVID-19 to help keep the public safe, the American Medical Association has seen reports from more than 30 states concerning increases in opioid-related mortality, mental health crises, suicide and addiction-related relapse. Reports are from every region in the nation. This includes a 20 percent increase in calls to the Jacksonville, Fla., fire department concerning overdoses; an “unusual spike” in overdoses in DuPage County, Ill.; increased emergency department visits in coastal North Carolina and spikes in fentanyl-related overdoses in Seattle. Georgia, too, has not been spared, causing increased concern for many. - Dr. Patrice A. Harris is the immediate past president of the American Medical Association and chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force.
- So – at what cost or how far back have efforts been set by COVID-19?
- And how much harder will it be for America to regroup and take on its addiction to opioids?
There are a lot of questions to be asked – and if you are a journalist covering this topic or looking to learn more about the state of the opioid epidemic in America – then let our experts help.
Justin Cole is an expert in clinical pharmacy, Pharmacogenomics, and the pharmacy industry. Justin has been following this issue closely and is available to speak with media. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview today.
Justin Cole Director of the Center for Pharmacy Innovation
Dr. Cole is an expert in pharmacy innovation, interprofessional care, and pharmacy practice advancement.