There was a modest increase in methadone-involved overdose deaths in March 2020, according to research published in JAMA Psychiatry. To facilitate methadone access from opioid treatment programs (OTPs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, states were allowed to request blanket exemptions to provide take-home methadone, according to Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, DrPH, MPH, and colleagues. Therefore, they calculated monthly overdose deaths involving and not involving methadone and the percentages of overdose deaths involving methadone during January 2019-August 2021. The estimated monthly overdose deaths not involving methadone increased by 78.12; 1,078.27; and 69.07 deaths per month before March 2020, in March 2020, and after March 2020, respectively, with similar trend slopes observed before and after March 2020. The estimated methadone-involved overdose deaths were stable before March 2020 (−0.12), increased in March 2020, and remained stable after March 2020 (−1.91), with similar trend slopes noted before and after March 2020.
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