Rx Summit Discussion: COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorders


Fireside chat alert! 

Last week, during the Rx Summit, Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Nora Volkow had a discussion about opioids and COVID-19.

Please view virtual plenary session on the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) YouTube channel, found here: Virtual plenary with Francis Collins and Nora Volkow on HEAL, the opioid crisis and COVID-19

A summary of the plenary session, taken from the NIH’s HEAL Initative website shown below:

Speaking from their homes, on April 16, Collins and Volkow answered questions from the NIH HEAL Initiative’s community and addressed how the COVID-19 pandemic poses unique challenges to people with pain and substance use disorders.

“We did want very much to be part of your virtual experience this year,” Collins said. “To talk to you about what…NIH is doing, especially about our initiative called HEAL, Helping to End Addiction Long-term, which is directing nearly $1 billion to researchers and communities all over the country, including many people who are probably listening.”

The conversation began with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities across the country, and how it is colliding with the public health crisis of substance use disorders.

“It’s one of the issues of greatest concern for all of us who are working in the field of substance use disorders,” said Volkow. “We have not been able to contain the epidemic of opioid fatalities, and all of us then were hit by this tsunami of COVID, and we immediately can recognize the unique challenges of people having an addiction.”

Collins, then, proceeded to answer questions submitted by some of the more than 15,000 subscribers to the initiative’s website.

Find out more information on the HEAL Initiative here.