As the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs in the United States, the nation is facing a worsening substance use crisis that has led to a rise in overdose deaths. Using a special set of health care billing codes reserved for screenings and short interventions, practicing psychologists can help patients who use alcohol or other substances before a severe outcome occurs.
In the first year of the pandemic, more than 1 in 10 adults reported starting or increasing their use of alcohol or drugs to cope with the pandemic. In addition, deaths caused by drug overdose have spiked during this public health emergency, primarily driven by opioid use. More Americans died from overdoses in 2020 than in any previous year, and recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show overdose deaths rose again during the first half of 2021.
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