COVID-19 economic impact payments and opioid overdose deaths

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The convergence of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic with the opioid epidemic has created a “perfect storm” which has resulted in the historically high levels of drug overdose deaths that have now surpassed 100,000 in a 12 month period in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2021). Policy responses to the pandemic have inadvertently resulted in contributing to the exacerbation of the epidemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with opioid use disorder (PWOUD) have been shown to be more susceptible to COVID-19 mediated stressors than the general population, namely, social isolation, loss of income/ housing, reduced availability of harm reduction strategies and decreased access to medication treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD; Henderson et al., 2021; Holmes et al., 2020).

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