Federal officials involved in combating the opioid epidemic say they are concerned the progress made so far will be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Politico reports.
“I think we’re going to see deaths climb again,” said Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We can’t afford to focus solely on COVID. We need to multitask.” She said the National Institutes of Health has frozen most non-coronavirus related research, including a $1 billion project studying treatment options and alternatives to opioids that was rolled out last fall.
Social distancing rules and fears of the virus are impacting traditional addiction treatment, including peer counseling, medication-assisted treatment and syringe exchange programs.