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Lockdowns Are Exacerbating the Opioid Crisis (Guest: Dr. Paul Christo)

January 5, 2021

Dr. Paul Christo joins the show to discuss how the lockdowns are worsening the nation’s opioid crisis.

Dr. Paul Christo is on the front lines of pain management and has seen first-hand how the lockdowns impacted those in recovery and may be responsible for creating new cases. Deaths from opioid overdose began declining in 2018 in part to a variety of measures, including clampdowns on marketing of prescription opioids and more public attention and support for treatment. There were 623,331 drug overdoses between 1999 and 2016 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and over 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, half of which likely involved opioids.  In 2018, drug overdose deaths dropped to 67,000. Christo believes this will jump 30 percent when numbers for 2020 are released.

Schieber and Christo discuss the following:

1.  That CDC data…the time lag on opioid/overdose deaths…when and why does it take longer than other diseases

2.  Why Christo suspects the overdose numbers will soar 30 percent

3.  How have the lockdowns impacted the illicit drug market

4.  Brief history of the crisis… the phases, where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we are going

5.  Will the lockdowns create new cases of addiction

6.  Advise for the next administration

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AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform. @HCPolicy