Disparities in Emergency Department Visits for Opioid and Stimulant Overdoses in Florida During COVID-19
Economics, Finance and Quantitative Analysis
Emergency department (ED) visits for drug overdoses increased nationally during COVID-19 despite declines in all-cause ED visits. The study purpose was to compare characteristics of ED visits for opioid and stimulant overdoses before and during COVID-19 in Florida. This study tested for disparities in ED visits for opioid and stimulant overdoses by race/ethnicity, age, and insurance status. The study identified ED visits for opioid and stimulant overdose in Florida during quarters two and three of 2019 and compared them with quarters two and three of 2020. Overall, there was an increase in the number of opioid and stimulant overdoses during COVID-19. Combined with the decline in the number of all-cause ED visits, drug overdoses represented a larger share of ED visits during COVID-19 compared with before COVID-19. The study did not find evidence of disparities by race/ethnicity, as each group experienced similar increases in the likelihood of ED visits involving drug overdoses during COVID-19. Differences emerged according to age and insurance status. ED visits involving those under age 18 were more likely to involve opioid or stimulant overdose, and ED visits among those over age 65 were less likely to involve opioid overdose during COVID-19. ED visits among those with vulnerable insurance status were more likely to involve opioid overdose during COVID-19. Patterns of behavior change during periods of restricted activity due to a pandemic. These changes in behavior change the mix of risks that people face, suggesting the need for a reallocation of population health management resources during pandemics.
Population Health Management
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)