Benjamin Oldfield, MDDr. Oldfield has disclosed that he has no relevant financial or other interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.
It’s become clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will obligate us to rebuild our practices anew—in some cases, permanently—and that achieving normalcy will be less like a return and more like a transformation. My hope is that this issue helps you construct that new normal. We examine specific telemedicine strategies for people with substance use disorders, as well as a therapeutic strategy that focuses on connectedness and social networks, which are being altered by physical distancing recommendations.
Additionally, we summarize highlights from updated guidelines for the management of opioid use disorder; they focus on reducing barriers to medications, of which there are increasing formulations and options. We also discuss new alternatives for the management of alcohol use disorder.
The theme is how to connect patients—who face increasing barriers to treatment due to physical distancing recommendations, stigma, and social vulnerabilities—to evidence-based care in our rapidly changing health care system. If there is a silver lining here, it is that we are asked to double down on our efforts to increase access to care, and options are emerging to allow us to do so in thoughtful ways (consider telemedicine or implantable buprenorphine). I hope you are making use of this changing landscape to better connect with your patients; keep in touch as you do.