The social distancing and isolation of the coronavirus pandemic may put people struggling with addiction at risk for relapse, an expert says.
Feeling stressed, isolated and scared may drive them back to substance abuse, said Dr. Lawrence Brown Jr., CEO of the nonprofit START Treatment & Recovery Centers, New York's largest independent drug treatment agency.
The precarious intersection of the COVID-19 national health emergency and the concurrent epidemic of drug overdose deaths is outlined in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Volkow discusses how the serious health risks of COVID-19 pose unique challenges to people who smoke or vape, are already struggling with substance use disorders (SUD), or are in recovery from addiction.
The Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Almost every NIH Institute and Center is accelerating research to address this public health emergency from all angles.
The initiative is funding hundreds of projects nationwide. Researchers are taking a variety of approaches to tackle the opioid epidemic through:
Nearly one in four Arizona teens have used a highly potent form of marijuana known as marijuana concentrate, according to a new study. Among nearly 50,000 eighth, 10th, and 12th graders from the 2018 Arizona Youth Survey, a biennial survey of Arizona secondary school students, one-third (33%) had tried some form of marijuana, and nearly a quarter (24%) had tried marijuana concentrate.
Untreated drug and alcohol use contribute to tens of thousands of deaths every year and impact the lives of many more. Healthcare already has effective tools including medications for opioid and alcohol use disorder that could prevent many of these deaths, but they are not being utilized widely enough, and many people who could benefit do not even seek them out. One important reason is the stigma that surrounds people with addiction.
The investigators suggest that the results could be explained, in part, by people having extra recreational time during the summer, as well as the growing popularity of outdoor activities, such as music festivals, at which recreational drug use is common.
"Parents and educators who are concerned about their kids need to educate them year-round about potential risks associated with drug use, but special emphasis appears to be needed before or during summer months when rates of initiation increase," says Palamar, who is also a researcher in the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at NYU College of Global Public Health.
Get Naloxone Now is an online resource that help train people to respond to an opioid-associated overdose emergency. Naloxone is a life-saving antidote for opioid-associated overdose.
about prescription medication abuse.
Americans View Drug Addiction Far More Negatively Than Mental Illness, Study Shows
Ohio is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2016, there were 3,613 opioid-related overdose deaths in Ohio—a rate of 32.9 deaths per 100,000 persons and more than double the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000. Since 2010, the rate has tripled from 10 deaths per 100,000.