AIR Informs Episode #1: Focusing on Facts and Evidence During a Health Crisis

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Image of Elizabeth Salisbury-AfsharIn this podcast, Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar, a practicing physician, researcher, and director of the AIR Center for Addiction Research and Effective Solutions (AIR CARES), provides some advice for finding reliable sources of information, rooted in science and evidence, while avoiding a sense of panic.

  1. Stay calm. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by what seems like endless sources of information and minute-by-minute updates and advice.
  2. Focus on what you can control personally. This includes hand-washing, enhanced cleaning practices, social distancing, and working remotely when it’s an option.
  3. Keep informed. Check in regularly with reliable sources: pick one at the national level—such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and another at the state or local level, such as a city or county health department.
  4. Rely on experts. When looking at resources from non-public health resources, pay attention to the credentials of the people providing information and updates—make sure they are epidemiologists or infectious disease specialists. Avoid online forums or similar resources where people do not have to confirm their identity or experience before giving advice.

Salisbury-Afshar also noted that COVID-19 presents additional challenges for people who have substance use disorders. “It’s really important for those of us who work in substance use treatment and at social service agencies to think about how we make sure our patients get the services, the treatments, and the medications they need without unnecessarily increasing their risk of exposure when we’re all being asked to practice social distancing,” she says.