COVID-19 Presents Challenges for the Opioid Epidemic


Over a year ago the COVID-19 global pandemic began, and even as progress is made around vaccines, there is still an ongoing crisis: The Opioid Epidemic.

According to Michael Barnett, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the year 2020, is likely to be recorded as the worst year for opioid overdoses that we’ve ever had (Read more from the article here). Despite all the progress made in previous years, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to leave a lasting impact on all communities, especially for people who use drugs. Well, why is it so bad you may be asking. People have been unemployed, having limited social interactions, and the constant reminder of the pandemic in itself is cumbersome, in all aspects. Care has been limited for sure, or even more stringent to those who were barely receiving any. It’s a rough time to say the least.

However, some people have suggestions on what can be done to help during a pandemic and opioid epidemic. One option is to end the “X waiver,” a requirement that physicians must have in order to prescribe buprenorphine. Another suggestion is to strategically use the opioid manufacturer settlement money, to invest in resources to benefit PWUD and health organizations.

What other things have you heard of that may change the course of this epidemic for the better?