From the Journals

‘Deeper dive’ into opioid overdose deaths during COVID pandemic


 

Identifying at-risk individuals

Dr. Jalali and colleagues note that clinicians and policymakers could use the new study to help identify and treat at-risk individuals.

“Practitioners and policy makers can use our findings to help them anticipate which groups of people might be most affected by opioid overdose and which types of policy interventions might be most effective given each state’s unique situation,” said lead study author Gian-Gabriel P. Garcia, PhD, in a press release. At the time of the study, Dr. Garcia was a postdoctoral fellow at Mass General and Harvard Medical School. He is currently an assistant professor at Georgia Tech, Atlanta.

Dr. Marshall pointed out that Dr. Jalali’s study is also relevant for emergency departments.

ED clinicians “are and will be seeing patients coming in who have no idea they were exposed to an opioid, nevermind fentanyl,” he said. ED clinicians can discuss with patients various harm reduction techniques, including the use of naloxone as well as test strips that can detect fentanyl in the drug supply, he added.

“Given the increasing use of fentanyl, which is very dangerous in overdose, clinicians need to be well versed in a harm reduction/overdose prevention approach to patient care,” Dr. Fuehrlein agreed.

A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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