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Opioid overdoses spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, data from Pennsylvania show

By Brian King, Professor, Department of Geography, Penn State
Andrea Rishworth, Postdoctoral Fellow in Geography, McMaster University
Ruchi Patel, Ph.D. Student in Geography, Penn State
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Since the first diagnosed case of COVID-19 in the United States on Jan. 20, 2020, news about infection rates, deaths and pandemic-driven economic hardships has been part of our daily lives.

But there is a knowledge gap in how COVID-19 has affected a public health crisis that existed before the pandemic: the opioid epidemic. Prior to 2020, an average of 128 Americans died every day from an opioid overdose. That trend


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