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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic took grip of the US 2 decades into an accelerating overdose crisis that caused more than 70 000 deaths in 2019 alone.1 Front-line health care professionals and officials have sounded the alarm that the social and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic may impede efforts to flatten the overdose curve.1,2 However, the state databases tracking overdose mortality often have long lags that stymie timely analysis and response.3 Emergency medical services (EMS) data provide a novel source of near-real-time information to track epidemiological trends during the COVID-19 pandemic.4,5 We leverage a large, national EMS database to characterize emergent trends in overdose mortality fueled by the pandemic.
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Accepted for Publication: November 12, 2020.
Published Online: December 3, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.4218
Corresponding Author: Joseph Friedman, MPH, Medical Scientist Training Program, University of California, Los Angeles, B7-435, UCLA Semel Institute, PO Box 951759, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Author Contributions: Mr Friedman had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Study concept and design: Friedman, Schriger.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.
Drafting of the manuscript: Friedman, Beletsky.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.
Statistical analysis: Friedman, Schriger.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Friedman.
Study supervision: All authors.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Funding/Support: Mr Friedman received support from the UCLA Medical Scientist Training Program (National Institute of General Medical Sciences training grant GM008042).
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
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