Three weeks premature, Baby Jessica entered the world weighing only 4 lbs. 12 ounces. Crying inconsolably in the NICU, she experienced tremors, blisters, and severe reflux.
Long before COVID-19 reached the shores of the United States, the opioid epidemic exposed deep inequities in our society that had been raging for years. In 2017, an estimated 11 million people misused opioids in the United States at a cumulative cost of $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017. While news stories focused on the tens of thousands dying from opioid overdoses each year, another population segment also suffered the impact – the unborn.
What’s more, the COVID-19 and opioid epidemics have become intertwined. According to a September 2020 analysis of electronic medical records, hospital patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder in the past year were 10.2 times more likely to contract COVID-19.