The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there was a 38.4 percent increase in synthetic opioid deaths during the 12 months ending in May 2020 compared with June 2019. This increase is due to there being more synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, available as well as less access to care and more isolation during the pandemic, according to Ann R. Garment, MD, co-director of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and section chief of general internal medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue.
In an interview at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Internal Medicine Meeting, she described how primary care providers should screen, diagnose, and treat opioid use disorder in their practices.
“Now more than ever, opioid use disorder must be treated by primary care physicians,” says Dr. Garment, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Medicine and member of its Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation. “Medication is the No. 1 treatment for preventing opioid overdose deaths.”
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