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Can Lessons From the Opioid Epidemic Apply to COVID-19?

Jac Charlier, executive director of TASC's Center for Health and Justice, recently co-authored this April 28, 2020, op-ed for The Crime Report. It discusses the importance of rapidly adapting and applying the lessons learned in dealing with opioids and other drugs to address the traumas of the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath.

The COVID-19 pandemic is re-shaping our lives, rapidly, and right before our eyes. While we cannot see the coronavirus without a microscope, its impact is absolutely visible: pain, suffering and death, as well as the unfolding tragedies of job loss, hunger and homelessness.

And still, beyond this, we know that even more is happening out of sight but will soon enough, tragically, become clear. Namely, we are likely to see an increase in mental health issues, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse....

Those of us who have worked on saving lives at risk from opioid abuse bring useful experience to the challenge of dealing with the double impact of trauma experienced by those at-risk individuals suffering from the stress and anxiety of COVID-19.