Today the American people are under attack by two serious diseases, one a deadly pandemic virus and the other a vicious plague of opioid drugs.
Opioid use disorder, or OUD, and COVID-19 have much in common. Both are serious diseases that scientists don’t fully understand or know how to bring under control, even as they rage through our society. Medical professionals and first responders throughout the country are grappling with both diseases as they stress our nation’s health systems and damage our communities in ways we could not have imagined.
This new reality requires us to make prudent decisions on how to deploy resources to most effectively deal with both problems at once. In the COVID-19 crisis, medical professionals — especially hospitals — have distinguished themselves heroically, demonstrating courage, resourcefulness and effectiveness under extremely challenging circumstances.
Who hasn’t been moved by the images of weary New Yorkers with cowbells cheering medical workers each night as thanks for their heroic work? People don’t realize that same kind of heroism has taken place in hospitals across the country over the past 15 years as hardworking professionals provide lifesaving treatment to those suffering from OUD.