Opioid Use Disorder and COVID-19: Treatment and Recovery Factors among Vulnerable Populations at the Intersection of Two U.S. Epidemics

Devin E. Banks, Maria E. Paschke, Xiao Li, Andrea Fentem, Amanda Rich, Hannah S. Szlyk, Patricia Cavazos-Rehg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social inequities made some sociodemographic groups–including those of older age, minoritized race/ethnicity, and low socioeconomic status–disproportionately vulnerable to morbidity and mortality associated with the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic. Given shared vulnerability to these public health crises, it is critical to understand how COVID-19 impacts substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery among people with these characteristics. The current study examined COVID-19ʹs perceived impact on treatment factors and psychosocial outcomes by sociodemographic vulnerability. Patients receiving SUD treatment with a history of opioid misuse were recruited. Participants completed self-report questionnaires regarding the impact of COVID-19 on treatment indicators and mood and substance use symptoms. Most participants reported that COVID-19 decreased their treatment access and quality. There were no sociodemographic differences in treatment factors. Those with high sociodemographic vulnerability reported greater pandemic-related increases in depression and demonstrated greater mood symptoms. Post-hoc analyses demonstrated that unmet basic needs were significantly associated with lower treatment access and quality, greater mood symptoms, and higher substance use. Findings suggest pandemic-related stressors and barriers affected those across the sociodemographic spectrum. Treatment systems must address socioeconomic barriers to care exacerbated by the pandemic and bolster integrated treatment options for opioid use and mood disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-308
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • opioid overdose
  • socioeconomic status
  • substance use treatment

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