According to a report just published in The Guardian, many addiction treatment programs in the U.S. have been forced to cut back services or close altogether due to financial losses suffered during this pandemic.
The Guardian cites a September 2020 survey conducted by the National Council for Behavioral Health, showing that “54% of behavioral health organizations have closed down programs and 65% had to turn away, reschedule, or cancel patients due to financial losses and reduced capacity during the pandemic.”
Job losses, social isolation, and a reduction in recovery resources are now being cited as contributing factors in the rise of alcohol and drug abuse – and a sharp increase in overdose deaths.
According to The Guardian, “data from the Overdose detection mapping application program shows that opioid overdoses increased in March 2020 by 18% compared to the same month in 2019, 29% in April 2020, and 42% in May 2020. According to the American Medical Association, over 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related deaths during the pandemic, even as the US experienced a record of nearly 71,000 opioid-related deaths in 2019.”
And there is more alarming data…
According to infectious disease experts, drug users are at an increased risk of being infected by COVID-19 and having more severe cases.
Given all these facts, many addiction specialists are calling for a renewed effort to relax further the regulations on opioid disorder medications methadone and buprenorphine to increase access. They are also calling for a loosening of restrictions by states for naloxone, an overdose reversal medication.
Other experts are citing the need for immediately extending economic relief to those impacted most by the economic downturn.
What is evident in these difficult times is that more needs to be done, or the extent of this little-noticed second health crisis will reach epic proportions.
If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help in Connecticut, New Hampshire, eastern Massachusetts, Florida, or Southern Maine, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique, pandemic safe model of care is giving clients a significantly better chance of recovery when compared to many other programs. To learn more or to talk to one of our Recovery Specialists, visit www.awarerecoverycare.com.