Nonfatal Opioid Overdoses at an Urban Emergency Department During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Study of one US emergency department in Virginia reported increased visits for opioid overdoses in the first 4 months of the COVID-19 pandemic vs previous year (from 102 to 227 cases) with Black patients making up a relatively larger proportion of opioid overdose visits.

SPS commentary:

Another US study of random urine drug tests (n=150,000), found increases in prevalence, before compared to after COVID, for cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine.


A related editorial outlines the limitations of the studies and notes that both point to a trend in increasing substance use and opioid overdoses in the COVID-19 pandemic era with racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in opioid overdose and COVID-19–related morbidity and mortality.


Journal of the American Medical Association

Resource links:


Analysis of Drug Test Results Before and After the US Declaration of a National Emergency Concerning the COVID-19 Outbreak Pandemic