Appalachian Kentucky is currently fighting two public health emergencies – COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic – leaving the area strapped for resources to care for these ongoing crises. During this time, people who use opioids (PWUO) have increased vulnerability to fatal overdoses and drug-related harms (e.g., HIV). Disruption of already limited services posed by COVID-19 could have an especially detrimental impact on the health of PWUO. Though the COVID-19 pandemic is jeopardizing hard-won progress in fighting the opioid epidemic, innovations in state policy and service delivery brought about by the pandemic may improve the health of PWUO long-term if they are retained.
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Vickers-Smith R, Cooper HLF, Young AM. COVID-19 and opioid use in Appalachian Kentucky: challenges and silver linings. J Appalach Health 2020;2(4):11–16. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13023/jah.0204.03