COVID-19 and the Impacts to Opioid Related Deaths

Editorial by Jon Gallagher, MD

Wow, what a year!  As the United States approaches 50% of the population having at least a first COVID-19 vaccine on board, we may be seeing the first glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel of this deadly pandemic.  With over 500,000 Americans lost, the economy in tatters, and the psyche of the country disrupted, we can only hope for a brighter future with continued attention to the damage wrought by the coronavirus.  Those of us who have been working on the prior number one public health issue, opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose death, can only be frustrated by the setback this pandemic has set upon our efforts.  Continue reading.

Addressing Approaches to Maternal Opioid Use Disorder

by John Gallagher, MD, and Denise Vanacore-Chase PhD, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC

It was a quiet September morning in our western Pennsylvania community hospital’s Labor and Delivery Unit.  With no one in labor, the stillness on the floor was broken only by a piercing cry from the nursery.  Maya* lay in the nursery, showing that special beauty that only a newborn baby can demonstrate.  However, her inconsolable crying resisted all efforts to comfort her.  The only relief would occur when she was transferred to a tertiary care center in another state and started on a regimen of oral morphine.  Yes, Maya had become the newest and youngest victim of America’s opioid epidemic, but by no means the last.  Continue reading.


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