The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Opioid Overdose Epidemic: A Perfect Storm for Workers?

Introduction Before the pandemic took hold, the United States was already facing another public health crisis – alarming rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2018, 46,802 deaths were attributed to opioids, which accounted for 69% of all drug overdose deaths.1 Based on provisional data, an estimated 50,828 Americans died of opioid overdose in 2019 — 70% of the total estimated drug overdose deaths last year. As COVID-19 has swept the nation and globe, the virus and its implications have had particularly harmful impacts on individuals struggling with opioid misuse, opioid use disorder (OUD), and overdose. The co-occurring COVID-19 pandemic and