Isolation and opioids during the pandemic



a close up of a woman: A Woman Alone


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A Woman Alone

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In our new era of nearly unparalleled upheaval, as a pandemic ravages the bodies of some and the minds of nearly everyone, as the associated economic damage disposes of the livelihoods of many, and as even the promise of democracy fades, the people whose lives were already on a razor’s edge — who were vulnerable and isolated before the advent of Covid-19 — are in far greater danger than ever before.

Against this backdrop, many of us are scanning the news for any sign of hope, any small flicker of light whose gleam could indicate that everything, somehow, is going to be okay. In fact, there is just such a flicker coming from those who have been through the worst of it and have made it out the other side.

I spoke with Rafael Rodriguez of Holyoke, Massachusetts, on a

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