Topline: For the 16 million people globally and 3 million people in the U.S. suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD), COVID-19 brings a slew of issues: lack of face-to-face counseling services, methadone clinic shutdown and increased mortality risk from coronavirus from underlying respiratory damage.
Key Background: From July 2018 to July 2019, 67,410 died in the United States from drug overdose, 47,105 of those deaths—or 69%—were opioid-related, according to the CDC, who named OUD a public health crisis last year. Still, headlines about opioids have fallen behind those of coronavirus. The U.S. is now the country with the largest number of coronavirus virus cases at 325,185 with 9,368 fatalities. Further, people with OUD are less likely to live in situations conducive to social distancing, as this population is more likely to be homeless or incarcerated, according to Health Affairs.
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