Affordable Access

The Clinical Evolutions of Surveillance and Violence During Three Contemporary US Crises: Opioid Overdose, COVID-19, and Racial Reckoning

  • Knight, Kelly Ray
Publication Date
Jan 16, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
External links


In 2020, three crises coalesced to transform the clinical care landscape of addiction medicine in the United States (US). The opioid overdose crisis (crisis #1), which had been contributing to excess US mortality for over two decades, worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic (crisis #2). The racial reckoning (crisis #3) spurred by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police impacted clinical care, especially in safety net clinical settings where the majority of people targeted by police violence, and other forms of structural violence, receive healthcare to mend both physical and psychological wounds. Collectively, the three crises changed how providers and patients viewed their experiences of clinical surveillance and altered their relationships to the violence of US healthcare. Drawing from two different research studies conducted during the years preceding and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2017-2022) with low income, safety net patients at risk for opioid overdose and their care providers, I analyze the relationship between surveillance and violence in light of changes wrought by these three intersecting health and social crises. I suggest that shifting perceptions about surveillance and violence contributed to clinical care innovations that offer greater patient autonomy and transform critical components of addiction medicine care practice.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times