The Opioid Epidemic in America: Pandemic Impacts

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2022 Oct 15;30(20):e1302-e1310. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-21-01158. Epub 2022 Aug 8.


There is still an ongoing epidemic of opioid abuse in the United States. It has resulted in a major healthcare crisis and led to an alarming number of daily overdose deaths. Strong interventions from the medical community and the government had made progress toward control. Tragically, the COVID-19 pandemic made the death rate dramatically worse. The purpose of this article is to reexamine the origins of this situation and provide updates from the pandemic period. The authors review the medical-legal risks physicians face when prescribing pain-relieving medications for their orthopaedic patients. Methods for providing responsible pain management plans for patients are suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Opioid Epidemic
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Analgesics, Opioid