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Axios' Caitlin Owens and Linda Porter, director of the Office of Pain Policy at the National Institutes of Health.

Opioid overdoses have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic, Linda Porter, director of the Office of Pain Policy at the National Institutes of Health, said on Tuesday during an Axios virtual event.

What's happening: People with opioid-use disorder have had "an extremely difficult time" getting medical treatment or behavioral therapy during the pandemic, Porter said.

  • More than 70% of residential treatment programs in the U.S. don’t offer the medical standard of care for opioid addiction, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
  • Those with opioid-use disorder are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

What they're saying: "Since COVID started, we've been collecting data, the government, showing that the overdose rates have really spiked. This is either through prescription opioids, but also through illicit drugs. So, fentanyl, amphetamines," she said.

  • "It's harder for them to get the rehabilitation they need, it's harder for them because there may be a loss of jobs, a loss of income. So all these things begin to contribute to their opioid use disorder."

One level deeper: Chronic pain can permeate all aspects of daily life, Arthritis Foundation CEO Ann Palmer said at the same Axios virtual event.

  • "Pain prevents people from participating in life, may lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and the comorbidities associated with that, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure. It certainly leads to sleeplessness, and thus fatigue.
  • "And if you're not sleeping well and you're tired, then your body's ability to heal is compromised so that's an issue. And additionally, people feel isolated. They feel like they can't participate in life the way they'd like to. And this can lead to depression, and anxiety, and very serious complications."

Go deeper

Dec 23, 2020 - Health

Over 1 million people in U.S. have received the COVID-19 vaccine

Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

More than 1 million people in the U.S. have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The U.S. began its largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history last week as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths surged nationwide.

Dec 23, 2020 - World

New York City will enforce quarantine for U.K. travelers with visits from sheriff's deputies

Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

All U.K. travelers going to New York City will now be required to quarantine or face a daily $1,000 fine, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Although all people are required to quarantine when traveling into the city, U.K travelers specifically will receive visits from sheriff’s deputies to ensure they are following the two-week quarantine order.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker