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A study just published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reveals that drug overdoses attributed to benzodiazepines were 43% higher in April to June 2020—just as the COVID-19 pandemic surged—compared with the same period a year earlier. That coincided with a jump in related emergency room visits (24%) at a time when EDs were scrambling to keep up with the demands of the pandemic while also trying to maintain safety of patients and staff. Now that COVID-19 cases are again moving some healthcare systems to limit exposure by reducing ED traffic, with some even urging people who were considering a trip to the ED to go to an urgent care center instead, urgent care providers should be vigilant for patients who may be benzo addicts looking to feed their habit, as well as watching for signs that a patient could be abusing any drug or even exhibiting signs of overdose. Certainly that goes for opiates, given the never-ending dangers of that unchecked addiction crisis. JUCM published an article that could be helpful in this regard. Read The Potential Role of Urgent Care in Addressing the Opiate Epidemic to ensure you and your team are prepared.

Be Vigilant for Prescription Seekers and Signs of Drug Abuse as the Pandemic Goes on