The Effect Of COVID19 Pandemic On The Opioid Epidemic

By Dr. John Rosa


We’re in the midst of a global pandemic.

The way a nation takes care of all of its citizens is a reflection of that nation’s evolution as human beings. So far, here in the U.S. we don’t get a great score as a global pandemic adds to a score of other challenges.

We, as a nation have been slogging through an opioid epidemic since the early 1990s that was brought on by the very people who are supposed to be most concerned about the health and well-being of their fellow humans. Efforts to stop the blatant over prescribing of addictive drugs has been slow and in some medical specialties not at all. Even today, if you go to the doctor or even the dentist for a simple ache or pain, the first thing most do is reach for their prescription pad to give you pain killers. The point is, we could be doing a lot more.

Now, here we are in the midst of a virulent global pandemic. And, the big deal about this is that every single person is at risk. This is a reality that cannot be ignored. No one can be judged as being weak or an addict if they get the Coronavirus. Unlike the people who became addicted to a drug that the medical establishment knew was highly addictive.

Social Isolation More Difficult For Those In Recovery

Most of us humans are by nature social creatures. During the social distancing and self-isolation required during the COVID19 pandemic, many people will be able to handle the lack of socializing for a while. We have technology that allows us to visit with our friends and loved ones. However, while most of us prepare to hunker down at home and self-isolate with our favorite foods and healthy supplies of toilet paper, there is a segment of the population that will have a very difficult time with social isolation.

People who are addicted to opioids, alcohol and other drugs and have been attending 12-Step programs will no longer be able to meet and talk about their challenges. For these people, isolation actually feeds addiction. Patients that rely on Chiropractic, physical therapy and acupuncture for pain control are finding it hard to find clinics that haven’t shut their doors. Relapses are already being reported at a higher rate in just the last few weeks.

A Global Pandemic On Top Of An Opioid Epidemic

We are in a strange, historic time and critically important time. Who knows how this situation is going to evolve? Lives will continue to be lost as a result of both COVID19 and drug overdoses. It is thought that the COVID19 virus will eventually stop spreading, as viruses do. Though we don’t know how long it will take for it to run its course. However, the opioid epidemic will still be with us and unfortunately the likelihood is that it could be more virulent than ever.

I pray for the safety and well-being of everyone during these unprecedented times. My heart goes out to all those who have fallen due to COVID19 and to their families. I pray for the safety of all those on the front lines who serve in the hospitals, the police and other public servants, supermarkets and other essential services personnel. I thank you for your courageous service.

And I pray for all of those who continue to suffer the pain of addiction. Please stay well and safe.