The pandemic may fuel the next wave of the opioid crisis
COVID-19 harms various vulnerable populations, but drug users face unique challenges.
There’s usually a stream of people headed into the unassuming brick building in the Cedar Rapids neighborhood where Sarah Ziegenhorn runs the Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition. In 2016 when she moved back to Iowa to begin medical school, Ziegenhorn started the small nonprofit to help people who use drugs. Today, the drop-in center provides medical testing, counseling, and free supplies to more than 5,000 people a year.
But during the COVID-19 pandemic, that work has only gotten harder, both in Iowa and nationwide. Amid widespread strains on the health-care system, the United States remains in an overdose crisis—more than two million Americans use opioids, and half a million use meth every week. A staggering 46,000