A Tale of Two Scourges

Jeffrey A. SingerSome observers of our policy toward the coronavirus pandemiccriticize the tendency to focus on case numbers alone, when hospitalization rates and fatality rates are what really matter. And as we learn more about the COVID virus, mitigation and treatment is improving and fatalities are diminishing.Similarly, the U.S. Department of Justice ’s policy toward the overdose epidemic seems to be focused on arrests and drug interdictions, apparent in a DOJpress release today, itemizing the arrests of drug traffickers and seizures of illegal drugs that have resulted since “Operation SOS” began in July 2018. But it ’s the overdose death rate that really matters.The DOJ claims its operation is bringing down overdose deaths. There ’s just one problem: overdoses werealready rising in 2019 and early 2020,even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and aresoaring since the start of the pandemic.Public health experts and health care practitioners have learned, since the early days of the pandemic, how to mitigate spread with harm reduction measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, and how to better treat the infection. New therapeutics are being developed and, hopefully soon, a vaccine will help us reach “herd” or “community” immunity.Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for those who prosecute the drug war. Public officials seem reluctant to mitigate the spread of death and disease w...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - Category: American Health Authors: Source Type: blogs

Related Links:

Neuropharmacology. 2021 Aug 26:108766. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2021.108766. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTThe coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic intensified the already catastrophic drug overdose and substance use disorder (SUD) epidemic, signaling a syndemic as social isolation, economic and mental health distress, and disrupted treatment services disproportionally impacted this vulnerable population. Along with these social and societal factors, biological factors triggered by intense stress intertwined with incumbent overactivity of the immune system and resulting inflammatory outcomes may impact the functio...
Source: Neuropharmacology - Category: Drugs & Pharmacology Authors: Source Type: research
BACKGROUND: The opioid-related overdose epidemic remains a persistent public health problem in the United States and has been accelerated by the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic. Existing, evidence-based treatment options for opioid use disorder (OUD) are...
Source: SafetyLit - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Tags: Alcohol and Other Drugs Source Type: news
The latest numbers surpass even the yearly tolls during the height of the opioid epidemic and mark a reversal of progress against addiction in recent years.
Source: NYT Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Drug Abuse and Traffic Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Addiction (Psychology) Buprenorphine (Drug) Opioids and Opiates Deaths (Fatalities) Fentanyl Methamphetamines Hypodermic Needles and Syringes Native Americans Centers for Disease Control a Source Type: news
Although we are in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the opioid epidemic rages on. From 1999 to 2018, approximately 450  000 people died from opioid overdose, with approximately 50 000 deaths in 2018 alone, highlighting the dramatic increases in these alarming trends. As a field, ophthalmology has taken an active approach to analyzing and modifying its own opioid prescribing practices. Patel and Sternberg analyze d Medicare Part D prescriber data and showed that approximately 90% of ophthalmologists wrote 10 or fewer opioid prescriptions yearly, with an average of 7 prescriptions for a mean of 5 days ...
Source: JAMA Ophthalmology - Category: Opthalmology Source Type: research
This Viewpoint describes the rise in overdoses among users of opioids during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and the need for wide distribution of an antifentanyl vaccine currently in development.
Source: JAMA Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
By MIKE STOBBE AP Medical Writer NEW YORK (AP) — This is the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths expected to top 3 million for the first time — due mainly to the coronavirus pandemic. Final mortality data for this year will not be available for months. But preliminary numbers suggest that the United States is on track to see more than 3.2 million deaths this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019. U.S. deaths increase most years, so some annual rise in fatalities is expected. But the 2020 numbers amount to a jump of about 15%, and could go higher once all the deaths from this month are cou...
Source: JEMS Patient Care - Category: Emergency Medicine Authors: Tags: AP News Coronavirus EMS Hospital Prehospital Source Type: news
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A record 621 people died of drug overdoses in San Francisco so far this year, a staggering number that far outpaces the 173 deaths from COVID-19 the city has seen thus far. The crisis fueled by the powerful painkiller fentanyl could have been far worse if it wasn’t for the nearly 3,000 times Narcan was used from January to the beginning of November to save someone from the brink of death, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday. Related Beyond Naloxone: Providing Comprehensive Prehospital Care to Overdose Patients in the Midst of a Public Health CrisisOne Paramedic&rsquo...
Source: JEMS Patient Care - Category: Emergency Medicine Authors: Tags: AP News Patient Care California Overdose Source Type: news
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the existing overdose epidemic has only continued to rise. So have the rates of substance use. Addiction experts, including the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, weigh in on what this data means and what else we should be considering.
Source: Forbes.com Healthcare News - Category: Pharmaceuticals Authors: Tags: Healthcare /healthcare Innovation /innovation Editors' Pick editors-pick Coronavirus Decision Maker Content decisionmaker Source Type: news
This cohort study characterizes emergent trends in overdose-related cardiac arrests in the US during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic using a large, national emergency medical services database.
Source: JAMA Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a devastating public health crisis, posing significant challenges for health care delivery in the US. The changes that the health care system implemented and the changes in the provision of social services have impacted efforts to address the ongoing opioid epidemic, and may worsen existing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in access to treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Pre-COVID-19, research overlooked and the media excluded from its coverage the racial disparities in access to medications for OUD (MOUD) and the increasing rates of opioid overdo...
Source: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment - Category: Addiction Authors: Source Type: research
More News: American Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 | Epidemics | Epidemiology | Health Management | International Medicine & Public Health | Learning | Overdose | Pandemics | Universities & Medical Training | Vaccines