The Double-burden: COVID-19 and Opioid Deaths (Webinar Recording)

The Double-burden: COVID-19 and Opioid Deaths
De'Asia Harris, MPHc, and Leah Blackall, MPHc

May 11, 2021, 12-1:30 PM EST


Before the U.S. entered the COVID-19 pandemic, it has long suffered the epidemic of opioid deaths. Opioid use disorder affects 40.5 million people worldwide, and with the pandemic, we have seen these numbers rise exponentially. This webinar will address the impact of COVID-19 on individuals who misuse opioids and how the sudden change in everyday life increases their usage. It will explore how the pandemic has exacerbated mental instability and caused interruptions in potential treatment for people who misuse opioids. In addition, the webinar will present methods and resources to mitigating the risk of opioid deaths associated with vulnerable populations.


  • Introduce the background and history of the Opioid Epidemic, as well as the rise of opioid deaths during COVID-19
  • Discuss why individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection
  • Understand how a disruption in access to opioid antagonist treatment can lead to harmful effects on the individual
  • Discover the importance of harm reduction sites, syringe service programs, interventions, and access to treatment


De'Asia HarrisDe'Asia Harris, MPHc is a graduate student at the University of Maryland, with a Public Health Practice and Policy program concentration.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in May of 2017.  She is also a graduate research assistant for the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CRGE) at the University of Maryland. She currently works as a Medical Assistant at an Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Danya Institute's Central East Region Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC). This summer, she will be partnering with the University of Miami's Minority Health Research Training (MHRT) program to research health disparities in the Dominican Republic. Upon completion of her MPH program, she plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Community Prevention. Her career goal is to pursue public health research focusing on economic stability and public health among underserved populations.
Leah BlackallLeah Blackall, MPHc is the Training and Technical Assistance intern for the Central East PTTC. Currently, an MPH candidate at the University of Maryland, focusing on Public Health Practice and Policy. Her ultimate goal is to find solutions to eliminate health disparities within the healthcare system and improve access and quality of care.



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