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Apex Recovery Blog

How Has COVID-19 Affected Substance Abuse

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More than 81,000 drug overdoses have occurred since the start of the pandemic bringing more awareness to the fact that addiction is on the rise. Whether you’re searching for addiction treatment at one of the alcohol treatment centers in Tennessee or not the truth remains the same and it’s that addiction is getting out of hand.

Want to gain more insight into what’s changed when it comes to addiction because of the pandemic? Dive below and read on now.

COVID-19 & Its Impact on Addiction

The NIDA shared in October that people who had addiction issues were at a higher risk of catching the coronavirus. Also, people struggling with substance abuse issues accounted for 22.5% of people that were in the hospitals with COVID.

This could be for several reasons. But it’s mainly because of the negative effect that drugs have on a person’s body and the function of their internal organs.

For example, the prolonged use of substances such as opioids can lead to stress within the respiratory system. This stress can affect the heart and the lungs.

Due to a weakened immune system, it means that if someone caught COVID-19 it could be harder for their body to fight the virus. When your body can’t fight off a virus it can become life-threatening.

This would then mean that a person would need to seek help from a healthcare facility. Places where the equipment needed to do things like breath are readily available to patients that are in need.

Not only are people with addiction issues more susceptible to contracting the virus, but COVID-19 has also affected every aspect of the drug trade.

The changes that have taken place are within the supply and distribution channels. Some of the things that have changed because of COVID include:

  • The prices of drugs sold 
  • Places where people can buy drugs 
  • The use of certain drugs

Impact on Addiction Cont…

As we mentioned above the impact on the supply and distribution chain of drugs has drastically changed because of the pandemic. Most people are doing what they can to make a living, which means increasing the price of drugs for people to purchase.

This is to make up for the shortages of certain drugs that can be sold on the street. Because of the drug shortages and the higher prices of some street drugs people are turning to cheaper alternatives to get their fix.

For example, if someone’s substance of choice is Heroin but it’s not available in their area, they may begin purchasing synthetic opioids. The danger of this is synthetic opioids are stronger than other drugs, which can lead to an increased risk of overdose.

Because synthetic drugs are found to be more potent than regular drugs the Attorney General has put in several measures and consequences to deter people from buying and using them.

Closing of Addiction Treatment Centers

For people that were already in substance abuse treatment, they suddenly found themselves restricted from attending therapy. This might not be an issue for people that are further along in their recovery journey it was proven problematic for others that weren’t as far ahead.

It wasn’t until months into the pandemic that many substance abuse counselors began to offer virtual treatment sessions for people to attend. Even then substance abuse centers have understood that they’ve got to find a way to push addiction treatment resources for those that need them.

Depression & the Pandemic

If someone didn’t have addiction issues before the pandemic that might have changed now because of the state of the world. The unemployment rate at the beginning of the pandemic was 14.8%, which is significantly higher than what it was in 1948.

Many people around the world found themselves being laid off without a backup plan to pay bills and take care of their families. For some, this meant spending an increased amount of time at home looking for other jobs or ways to support their homes.

A sizable number of people found themselves turning to substances and alcohol to cope with the negative emotions brought on by depression because of being out of a job and not knowing what to do next. 100 million people found themselves landing in the poverty class, which can be hard to swallow.

As a result, mental health issues began to rise. Because of these socioeconomic stressors, people have been looking for ways to release their stress and forget about the challenges they’re currently facing.

For some, this means an increase in drug use to numb their feelings and avoid having to face the situations they’ve found themselves in. 

Emotional Impact: More Than Job Loss

The loss of work isn’t the only reason that people found themselves turning to substances the loss of family and close friends is also a reason. One second you might be speaking with someone on the phone or over a video call and the next there in the hospital.

Another reason people turned to substance use is that they lost a loved one. No one saw the pandemic coming, which means they didn’t prepare for what was coming.

Young and older people have been lost throughout this pandemic and it’s not something anyone could or would want to prepare for. It’s painful and if that person played a huge part in your life or you lost several people that pain could become too much to bear.

If you’ve found yourself trying to numb the pain or looking for an escape in the wrong place it’s time to take your life back. There are substance abuse treatment programs that can offer you the help you need before it’s too late.

Addiction During the Pandemic: Why You Need Treatment

Regardless of the reason you began using or relapsed during the pandemic the truth is you need help. There are alcohol treatment centers in Tennessee that can provide you with the help you need to stop addiction in its tracks.

Are you ready? Contact APEX Recovery today.

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 877.881.2689