Policing Pain and Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Sandra Trappen, Ph.D.
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Article Topics: substance use, policing, criminal justice system, Pennsylvania, qualitative research Opioid-related drug overdose is a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. Both prescription as well as illicit opioids continue to play a major role in the growing opioid epidemic . When we consider individuals who use opioids, some of the social factors described in this post may double as risk factors for infectious disease transmission, including COVID-19. Early studies of Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-COV) that emerged in 2012 documented that transmissions and outbreaks have been correlated with healthcare settings. Recently, experts have called…

Student-athlete substance use during COVID-19

Author: Katherine McLean, Ph.D.
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Article Topics: substance use, prevention, student athletes The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on substance use has been complex and varied, if not entirely unexpected. Despite restrictions in access to both licit and illicit drugs, there is evidence of both increased use, and increased harm, associated with the use of certain drugs. Some experts fear an uptick in alcohol consumption among individuals seeking to cope with stress related to isolation, unemployment and general uncertainty, with recent surveys showing increases in both drinking and relapse among individuals diagnosed with alcohol use disorder . The pandemic may also demonstrate the…

COVID-19 and access to controlled substance prescriptions

Author: Chan Shen, Ph.D.
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Article Topics: health care, substance use, treatment Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic brought many unexpected changes to our lives. Access to health care changed drastically due to the pandemic. For example, a large number of elective procedures were postponed or cancelled, and patients avoided visits to physician offices, outpatient facilities and hospitals. Access to controlled substance prescriptions also changed significantly. In this post, I describe past concerns around the prescribing and use of controlled substances, including opioids and benzodiazepines, the impact of COVID-19 on access to health care and prescription drugs, and…

Parental Substance Abuse

Author: Dr. Rina Eiden
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Article Topics: substance use, family, children Market research regarding substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic is alarming. For instance, alcoholic beverage sales increased dramatically by about 55%in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Similarly, sales of combustible cigarettes have increased across several countries during the pandemic, with survey respondents indicating tobacco use as their primary stress reduction strategy. Similar concerns have been raised about other substances . According to the American Medical Association, by July 2020, more than 35 states reported an increase in opioid-related deaths , particularly…