Special Report: COVID Deepens the Other Opioid Crisis - a Shortage of Hospital Painkillers

As opioid pills and patches fueled a two-decade epidemic of overdoses in the United States, hospitals faced chronic shortages of the same painkillers in injectable form - narcotics vital to patients on breathing machines.

For years, hospitals chased supplies, sometimes resorting to inferior substitutes. The shortfall grew so dire in 2018 that a drugmaker sent letters advising hospitals they could use batches of opioid syringes potentially containing hazardous contaminants - so long as they filtered each dose.

Then the novel coronavirus struck, and demand for injectable opioids exploded. By April, more than 16,000 COVID-19 patients a day were on ventilators, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated.

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Source: U.S. NEWS

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