It became apparent early in the COVID-19 pandemic that people with substance use disorders were going to have an especially tough go of it. Anxiety and social isolation spiked along with infection rates, both simultaneously with reduced access to treatment resources. It was predictable, then, that data showed the already-existing opioid epidemic escalating. So, it’s alarming to learn that even in 2019 only 28% of U.S. adults and adolescents who could have benefited from treatment for opioid-use disorder had gotten medication in the previous year, according to an article just published by JAMA Network Open. Highest utilization was found in patients between 26 and 34 years of age, as 42% of those for whom medication was deemed to be helpful were getting treatment. Only 13% of those 50 years of age and older received medication for their disorder. Check in with patients with a history of addiction and consider asking all patients about use and potential abuse of prescription pain medications. For an urgent care-specific approach, read The Potential Role of Urgent Care in Addressing the Opiate Epidemic in the JUCM archive.
Addicts Are in Desperate Need of Treatment. Can You Provide It?