COVID-19 pandemic and opioid use disorder epidemic could impact and worsen each other

COVID-19 pandemic and opioid use disorder (OUD) are intersecting and worsening each other, demanding a rapid response to correct the underlying factors, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Arunkumar NV, Epidemiologist at GlobalData, comments “Impaired psychosocial wellbeing, due to unstable socio-economic situations and disrupted opioid addiction treatment schedules, will cause an increasing wave in the current opioid crisis. Relaxed guidelines to dispense opioid treatment medications to patients for unsupervised use will also fuel the disease burden and the epidemiology of OUD across the globe.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Opioid Use Disorder: Epidemiology Forecast to 2028’, notes that in 2018 the 12-month total prevalence of OUD ranged from 0.62% to 1.26% among men and 0.33% to 0.99% among women across the 8MM*. This corresponds to more than 3.2 million people across these markets are already suffering from OUD.

Arunkumar NV continues: “A response to manage the worsening effects due to the intersection of COVID-19 and opioid addiction should include evidence-based strategies and guidelines. Drug substitution therapy is among a category of treatment modalities that need regular and frequent supervision of patients in treatment. Appropriate measures to be taken by the authorities to sensitise the patients to prevent the non-medical use of take-home doses of medications in situations of quarantine, self-isolation or lockdown and health service disruption”

*8MM: US, Canada, Australia, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and Belgium

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