Some researchers are working to find out if that’s the case, studying how virtual treatment has worked throughout the pandemic. A JAMA Psychiatry article noted there’s a dearth of research on the role of telemedicine in addiction treatment, including whether it improves access and can be done without significantly increasing diversion.
“That could be really helpful in getting people on board,” Allison Lin, lead author of the JAMA Psychiatry article and an addiction psychiatrist and researcher at the University of Michigan and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research, told me. “We do need more research to provide that data. We don’t have those kinds of answers just yet.”
Short of that, providers are sharing their own experiences, arguing that they’ve been able to maintain a level of care, and even gain some patients, throughout the pandemic despite the obvious disruptions Covid-19 has brought on. But they also worry that losing the new tools they have now could lead to the opposite result once the pandemic is over, fueling a drug overdose crisis that’s already getting worse.