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COVID’s Impact on Addiction

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported an increase in substance use as a way of coping with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.

Due to social distancing measures and being advised to stay within their “bubble,” many individuals have not been able to engage in activities that they otherwise would be partaking in for their self-care. In addition, overdoses have also spiked since the pandemic as ODMAP (Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program) revealed that the pandemic brought an 18% increase in overdoses in comparison to 2019. According to the American Medical Association, which reported in December that more than 40 U.S. states have seen increases in opioid-related mortality along with ongoing concerns for those with substance use disorders. Sadly, all these numbers have not received the attention that they would have in the previous years as most individuals and policy makers have been more focused on COVID 19 numbers.

Nonetheless, with the advancement of telemedicine, many if not all behavioral health agencies including Spectrum Health & Human Services are extremely proactive in putting client’s needs first and have been able to switch all services to telehealth from individual counseling visits to nursing assessments and provider visits. Individuals who need to be seen within the hour or same day can call into Spectrum Health’s Urgent Mental Health and Addictions Care Clinic  at 1280 Main Street and are able to talk to a clinician, nurse, and provider in a span of a few hours and have a team of dedicated individuals who are here to help. In addition, community-based groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have been able to meet virtually as well. Help is literally a click or a phone call away. In times of such stress, the world and most importantly humankind has been able come together with technology playing a pivotal role and individuals being there for each other.

To quote the popular Disney show, The Mandalorian, “This is the way…

Ali Rajan

Program Manager II

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