Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast: How the Pandemic is Impacting the Opioid Crisis and People in Recovery

WASHINGTON – The latest episode of Legal Services Corporation’s “Talk Justice” podcast, released today, looks at the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the opioid crisis. The episode is hosted by LSC President Ronald S. Flagg and includes Brandon George, director of Indiana Addiction Issues Coalition; Dr. Mishka Terplan, medical director with Friends Research Institute and staff physician at the University of California San Francisco; and Brendan Wood, an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Legal Aid of West Virginia.  

The speakers noted that while COVID-19 has drawn public attention away from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), the pandemic has worsened the situation for many individuals affected by OUD.  

“The solution for COVID and the solution for substance use disorder are almost diametrically opposed,” explained Wood.  “[The advice for] COVID is to stay away from people, get your groceries delivered, work from home if possible, limit your connectivity.” But for people suffering from OUD, being unable to connect with others and with resources in the community is not only challenging, but life threatening.   

The panelists agreed that the pandemic has changed the landscape for addressing the opioid crisis. New tools and a more multifaceted approach are needed, including increased access to justice for people and families affected by opioid addiction. Civil legal aid is essential in helping promote stability, recovery and independence for those affected.  

Talk Justice episodes are available on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and other popular podcast apps. The podcast is sponsored by LSC’s Leaders Council.   

Future episodes of Talk Justice will explore how state attorneys general can effectively work with legal services providers and how to shift the narrative on access to justice advocacy. 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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