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How To Fight The Opioid Crisis In The Middle Of A Pandemic

Tablets suspected to be fentanyl are placed on a graph to measure their size at the Drug Enforcement Administration Northeast Regional Laboratory in New York.
Tablets suspected to be fentanyl are placed on a graph to measure their size at the Drug Enforcement Administration Northeast Regional Laboratory in New York.

Some 81,000 people died of a drug overdose between May 2019 and May 2020. It’s the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period — and the main culprit was synthetic opioids.

But the Biden administration’s plan to combat the opioid crisis remains unclear. The president has delayed former President Donald Trump’s plan to make it easier for physicians to prescribe opioid-treatment drugs. The move has been criticized by medical professionals who have said the plan would have helped their patients dealing with prescription drug addictions.

Some opioid crisis stakeholders are especially frustrated given that President Biden has lagged on nominating heads for federal agencies that would combat the crisis, including the Food and Drug Administration, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Find one of our last conversations about the opioid crisis here.

What’s the best way to address the opioid crisis in a pandemic? And what efforts are being undertaken to help those in need?

We start with a story about one clinic in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York — the subject of former prosecutor Charlotte Bismuth’s new book “Bad Medicine.”

If you or someone you know is facing a substance use disorder, you can call 1-800-662-HELP or 1-800-662-4357 to reach the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association. It’s confidential, free and available 24/7.

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.


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