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Overdose-Related Cardiac Arrests Observed by Emergency Medical Services During the US COVID-19 Epidemic

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

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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Article Information

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 (josephfriedman@mednet.ucla.edu).

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.

References
1.
Katz  J , Goodnough  A , Sanger-Katz  M . In shadow of pandemic, U.S. drug overdose deaths resurge to record. New York Times. July 15, 2020. Accessed September 6, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/15/upshot/drug-overdose-deaths.html
2.
Wakeman  SE , Green  TC , Rich  J .  An overdose surge will compound the COVID-19 pandemic if urgent action is not taken.   Nat Med. 2020;26(6):819-820. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0898-0PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
Blanco  C , Compton  WM , Volkow  ND .  Opportunities for research on the treatment of substance use disorders in the context of COVID-19.   JAMA Psychiatry. Published online September 1, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.3177PubMedGoogle Scholar
4.
Lai  PH , Lancet  EA , Weiden  MD ,  et al.  Characteristics associated with out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and resuscitations during the novel coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in New York City.   JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(10):1154-1163. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2020.2488PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
5.
Lerner  EB , Newgard  CD , Mann  NC .  Effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the U.S. emergency medical services system: a preliminary report.   Acad Emerg Med. Published online June 17, 2020. doi:10.1111/acem.14051PubMedGoogle Scholar
6.
Reiner  RC , Barber  RM , Collins  JK ,  et al.  Modeling COVID-19 scenarios for the United States.   Nat Med. Published online October 23, 2020. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-1132-9Google Scholar
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