Author Credentials

Tolga Suvar MD*, Asokumar Buvanendran MD*, Stephen Music, DO*

*Department of Anesthesiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL

Wilson M. Compton MD, MPE&

& National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Maryland, USA




The goal of this manuscript is to highlight the notoriety of the overdose epidemic which has been masked by the Coronavirus pandemic.


A thorough literature review of PubMed and the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was performed for the most relevant and updated data regarding overdose deaths.


The global health crisis known as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic collided with the opioid epidemic in March of 2020, with devastating consequences for the United States. By overwhelming the healthcare system, the pandemic impacted patients who require continued mental health services, treatment of chronic pain, and management of ongoing substance use disorder (SUD). Elective surgeries and in-person visits came to a halt, while society-wide priorities were diverted to the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. Limitations in resources, increased social isolation, decreased access to care, and changes in the distribution of illicit fentanyl contributed to a “new wave” of the overdose opioid crisis. While the addiction crisis may have worsened the pandemic in some ways, undoubtedly, the COVID pandemic has fueled the overdose crisis. In 2020 and 2021, respectively, 91,799 and 106,699 people died from drug overdose deaths, substantial increases over the previous years


COVID-19 Pandemic, opioid epidemic, chronic pain, substance use disorder

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License