Impact of COVID-19 on opioid addiction

A Healthy You

Patients with newly-diagnosed opioid addiction may have had a tougher time getting prescriptions at the start of the pandemic compared to years past.

That’s according to a new study.

Part of the reason, many doctors’ offices closed their doors across the country.

One estimate shows almost 2 million fewer prescriptions to treat new opioid addictions were given during the early months of the pandemic.

And when we look just at the months of March, April, and May 2020-

New prescriptions to treat opioid addiction were one-third less than predicted in some cases.

But some good news-established patients had few to no issues getting their addiction treatment even with the shutdown.

These medications can be life saving for patients with addiction because they can decrease the use of other more dangerous opioids.

The decrease in new prescriptions could potentially be associated with the increase in overdose deaths seen during the early months of the pandemic, but this theory needs further study.

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