The Combined COVID-19 Pandemic and Opioid Use Epidemic

AATOD’s Five-Year Plan

The opioid epidemic began with prescription opioid misuse, which morphed into heroin use and, at present, to increased fentanyl use. Our country has also entered an era of increased stimulant use, particularly with methamphetamine. It is also fair to indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic lasted for far longer than any of us could have anticipated. Both situations have had tragic results and have ushered in an era of policy considerations about how we should increase access for the treatment of opioid use disorder and how we should evaluate existing regulatory oversight in an era that has been reshaped by these combined public health challenges.

AATOD has been getting reports from treatment programs throughout the United States, indicating that patients, who are using fentanyl are more difficult to stabilize during the early induction period of treatment. Accordingly, we will be working with our associates in the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and the Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS) Mentoring Program to develop clinical practice guidelines so that OTPs and DATA 2000 practices will be able to implement interventions to more effectively treat such patients.

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