February 10, 2021
Pandemic Leading to Decreased Access to Opioid Abuse Treatment
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the opioid epidemic, making treatment for opioid use disorder more difficult for patients.
Pandemic Disrupts Medical System, Reducing Patient Access to Care
The pandemic has deeply disrupted the medical system in the U.S., as health care facilities limited and even canceled elective procedures and outpatient visits.
Fearful of contracting the virus, patients also avoided seeking care for new and urgent conditions. An investigative report published in JAMA Internal Medicine found decreases in emergency department visits that ranged from 41.5% in Colorado to 63.5% in New York, with the most rapid rates of decrease in visits occurring in early March 2020.
Medical Assisted Treatment Challenges During COVID-19
Even before the pandemic began, only a minority of people with opioid use disorder (OUD) received evidence-based treatment with medications, and many people who use drugs struggled to get access to lifesaving harm reduction services like syringe service programs.
"People with substance use disorder already face many obstacles to treatment,” reports HealthAffairs.org. “However, public health precautions such as social distancing and self-quarantine—necessary measures, by all accounts, to contain the spread ...