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May 18, 2020

What Past Disasters Tell Us About COVID-19 and Substance Abuse

 

by Lloyd Sederer, MD, GET HELP Advisory Board Chair

 

For the first time in decades, American life expectancy is decreasing. This is in part due to what Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton called “deaths of despair,” or deaths related to bleak economic or social circumstances, and those largely driven by suicide, drug and alcohol overdoses, and alcoholic liver disease. As we face COVID-19 with little end in sight, we have to wonder how the pandemic will influence rates of substance use in our country, and in turn, deaths of despair.

 

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May 15, 2020

Coronavirus Exposes the Inextricable Connection Between Housing and Health

 

We must recognize the link between housing and health in our policymaking. Safe, affordable housing — and conditions in neighborhoods surrounding a house — influence the health of individuals and families. It is because of this inextricable connection that we have historically seen major housing policy reform grow out of health crises.

 

Over the last two months, cities that recognize this relationship have secured housing for the homeless by procuring shelters, hotels, trailers and college dormitories. Baltimore provided hotel and motel vouchers. Chicago and Detroit added shelter capacity by partnering with local community-based organizations. Sacramento received RV-style trailers from California. If space has not been available, cities have been deploying hygiene stations in encampments and continuing to grant access to public restrooms.

 

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May 8, 2020

75,000 Americans at risk of dying from overdose or suicide due to coronavirus despair, group warns

 

As many as 75,000 Americans could die because of drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis conducted by the national public health group Well Being Trust.

 

The group is sounding the alarm that the growing unemployment crisis, economic downturns and stress caused by isolation and lack of a definitive end date for the pandemic could significantly increase so-called “deaths of despair” unless local, state and federal authorities take action.

 

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May 4, 2020

COVID-19 Testing In Homeless Shelters: Care, Compassion And Combatting Structural Inequalities

 

by Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, GET HELP Board of Advisors

 

“It’s not even about money or food. They don’t even see me…”

 

This was how my patient, “Roger,” a 44-year-old man with hypertension, anxiety and severe alcohol use disorder, responded when I asked what he wanted the public to know about individuals like him who panhandle on the street.

 

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