The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption to daily life with the substance abuse population being hit especially hard. Quarantines and other related safety measures such as social distancing pushed people into isolation, decreased access to in-person treatment, and minimized opportunities for distraction from addictions.

The National Vital Statistics System provides provisional data on predicted total drug overdose deaths during a preceding 12-month period. Data shows that overdose deaths increased in almost every state during the first 8 months of 2020. Opioids accounted for approximately 75% of these deaths during the early months of the pandemic and about 80% of those included synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

This presentation will review the three stages of the opioid epidemic, opioid drug trends during the pandemic, and provide background information about the synthetic opioids most often observed in current cases.

Speaker: Laura M. Labay, Ph.D., F-ABFT, DABCC-TC

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