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The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Opioid Epidemic in Southern West Virginia

Maull, Emilee (2023) The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Opioid Epidemic in Southern West Virginia. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the opioid epidemic in Southern West Virginia is unknown. Five counties of interest from the Southern West Virginia Rural Opioid Planning Consortium are Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, and Wyoming counties. Data collected from 2019 represents pre-pandemic and 2020-2021 data collected represents during the pandemic. OUD-related measures included EMS responses to suspected overdoses, opioid overdose death data, opioid dispensing rates, rates of multiple provider episodes for prescription opioids, percent of residents with an opioid prescription were included. Peer county groups were utilized to compare the three-year drug overdose death rates. Rates of change were calculated for EMS responses to suspected overdoses and overdose deaths due to opioids, and other rates were also compared. EMS responses for suspected overdoses showed an increase between 60.20% and 464.1% in each county from 2019 to 2021. Opioid overdose deaths increased between 154.55% and 385.8% in each county from 2019 to 2021. Opioid prescription dispensing rates from 2019 to 2020 increased in Wyoming county, but decreased in the other four counties. The rate of multiple provider episodes for prescription opioids rate of change from 2019 to 2021 increased in Mingo County, stayed the same in Mercer County, and decreased in Logan, McDowell, and Wyoming Counties. The percentage of people with an opioid prescription decreased in all five counties from 2019 to 2021. The three-year average of drug overdose deaths from 2018 to 2020 in each county was above the overall average for their peer county group.Findings suggest that the Southern region of West Virginia has suffered more than similar areas with OUD and opioid overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future efforts should address how to prepare for major events, creating programs and policies for mitigating the effects of the pandemic, streamlining data collection, and providing feasible treatment options. This essay addresses how vulnerable populations, such as those with OUD, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and may provide insight on future directions for protecting vulnerable populations in the field of public health.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Maull, Emileeemm283@pitt.eduemm283
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGlynn, Nancyepidnwg@pitt.eduepidnwgUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberElias, Thistleelias@pitt.edueliasUNSPECIFIED
Committee ChairSonger, Thomastjs@pitt.edutjsUNSPECIFIED
Date: 5 January 2023
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 12 December 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 51
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: opioid, OUD, opioid use disorder, overdose, West Virginia, WV, COVID-19, pandemic, coronavirus, opioid epidemic
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2023 15:09
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2023 15:09


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