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How COVID-19 Exposed the Gaps in Substance Use Care

June 15, 2020

For people with substance use disorders or those who rely on opioids to manage chronic pain, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted gaps in these systems of care. Access to services has been severely impacted in areas around the country, and some states and territories are experiencing increases of fatal and nonfatal overdose—in some places, overdose deaths have outpaced COVID-19 deaths.

State and territorial health leaders are thinking long-term about how policy changes made as a response to the pandemic might be continued to support vulnerable populations. During this episode, public health experts discuss how states and territories can better support communities by addressing barriers to pain management and substance use treatment services—along with establishing wraparound services to mitigate the societal and economic impacts of COVID-19.


  • Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health
  • Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFAPA, DFASAM, Immediate Past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine