PSU-LV Student continues opioid epidemic research, focuses on addiction during COVID-19 pandemic

Written by on September 23, 2020

 PSU-LV Student continues opioid epidemic research, focuses on addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic

By K.C. Lopez

September 23, 2020

Photo | K.C. Lopez / WLVR

The American Medical Association says drug overdoses were down in 2019 but skyrocketed when COVID-19 hit the U.S.

As WLVR’s K.C. Lopez reports, researchers worry that the opioid epidemic is being overshadowed. 

Penn State Lehigh Valley’s Opioid Project revealed that one in three Pennsylvania college students know someone who died from a drug overdose. 

Now, PSU-LV Senior Isabella Hanna is taking that 2019 research further. She’s investigating the emotional impact of two overlapping health crises; the coronavirus pandemic and the opioid epidemic. 

“It’s not just relapses, it’s also opioid addicts getting into different drugs than what they are used to. Those who would take one drug, and don’t have access to it because of shutdowns, have been opening up to new drugs and they have not been getting the care that they needed.”

Hanna’s study is based on data from more than 1,200 college students that is set to be released this month.

Hanna is looking to interview people who have a close friend or family member suffering from opioid misuse during COVID-19. Anyone interested in participating in the confidential study are asked to email

Meanwhile, Part 6 of Battling Opioids will air Thursday, September 24th at 7PM across all Pennsylvania public media stations, including PBS39.

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