DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — COVID-19 has caused an increase in uncertainty, isolation, and depression which can cause a person to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as opioids.
“We’ve had an increase in treatment admission and an increase in positive urine screens, which are bad. A lot of folks have ditched their positive coping mechanisms and started using again,” said, Senior Recovery Coach at Southeast Outpatient Addiction Recovery (SOAR), Kim Hart.
Since the start of the pandemic, a lot of recovery support groups have been shut down. Hart says groups like Celebrate Recovery, N.A., and A.A. are important parts of addiction recovery so not having them available can be a stressor.
“Mental health, in general, has declined since COVID hit, not just in people with addiction, but all of us,” Hart said. “So you can just imagine how hard it is for someone with an addiction.”
According to the American Medical Association, Alabama is one of 40 states that has seen an increase in emergency room visits for overdoses since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This is a deadly disease, it’s just as deadly as COVID. You can die from an overdose quicker then you can die from COVID. We’re seeing more and more people injecting Methamphetamine, Heroin, even their pain pills they are injecting,” Hart said.
Hart says that a lot of the deaths seen now are caused by drugs bought off the street laced with Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a very potent opioid that can cause respiratory depression.
“Stop using drugs to heal the emotional pain and the withdrawals you are experiencing. Because people can get through that, they can get beyond it, they can’t do it by themselves,” Hart said.
SOAR wants to encourage people to reach out for help during this time and not lose hope. email@example.com
(334) 677-SOAR (7627)