Global Studies Reveal Major Disruptions in Addiction Care During the Pandemic

Front-line professionals report medicine shortages, critical service disruptions and a 191% increase in overdoses

The COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken to contain it have had a significant impact on the use of alcohol, tobacco and psychoactive drugs, and on addiction treatment programs worldwide. Experts who spoke about the impact at the ISAM-CSAM 2020 Scientific Conference acknowledged that data are limited, however, it’s abundantly clear that the pandemic reduced access to treatment and led to worse outcomes for people with substance use disorders.

Speakers Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, Dr. Alexander Baldacchino, Dr. Peter Selby, Dr. Kathleen Brady and Dr. Ivan Montoya presented data from a range of sources that offered a first glimpse into the impacts of COVID-19. They shared data on topics including substance use rates, access to addictions care and demand for health services. Key findings include:

  • Opioid agonist maintenance treatment was fully or partly disrupted in 45% of reporting countries (WHO)
  • Overdose prevention and management programs were fully or partly disrupted in 53% of reporting countries (WHO)
  • Harm reduction services were fully or partly disrupted in 65% of reporting countries (WHO)
  • Shortages of methadone or buprenorphine supplies affected 38% of survey respondents (ISAM)
  • Alcohol Consumption increased 14% year-over-year among U.S. adults over 30 (MUSC)
  • Drug overdoses increased 191% from January to April 2020, compared to the same period in 2019 (ODMAP)
 

Download the full report today to see all the data and read a comprehensive summary of these important presentations.

The Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine is a national society of medical professionals and scientists committed to helping Canadians understand, accept, and recover from substance use disorders.

Want to Stay Connected with the Addiction Medicine Community?

Join 2,600 Canadian addiction medicine professionals who receive our free monthly newsletter.