The opioid epidemic was a problem long before COVID-19 became a global health crisis, but with the rise of the pandemic, outlooks are bleaker than ever before. Stay-at-home orders and the need to social distance act as barriers to treatment for many who don’t have the means or technical skills to seek telehealth services. As a result, many who need treatment for opioid use disorder have been left out in the cold. If you’re struggling with drug abuse during this public health crisis, reach out for drug and alcohol addiction treatment at Memphis Recovery Centers.
The New Face of Drug Treatment During the Pandemic
As COVID-19 progressed throughout 2020, treatment for substance use disorder took a back burner. Consequently, many who were under traditional care for this disorder were re-prioritized. Free and sliding-scale clinics closed, methadone treatment faltered, and urgent care facilities moved to appointment-only. Hospitals and emergency rooms were used to house and treat those affected by the virus. And if you showed up for any reason that wasn’t a life-threatening emergency, you were turned away at the door.
The year 2020 was a challenging year for everyone globally, but for those in treatment for substance use disorder, the danger was two-fold. With hospitals overrun by COVID-19 cases, anything less took a backseat. Unfortunately, it was mostly victims of addiction who fell by the wayside. Accordingly, opioid addiction numbers increased, and treatment options became fewer and more difficult to effectively access.
The Move to Telehealth Addiction Services
Many addiction centers have been treating clients over the phone or the internet for almost a year now. This means fewer in-person exams and more guessing on the part of the doctor. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does give clients access to the mental health services they so desperately need. Unfortunately, barriers exist to telehealth services, including:
- Lack of internet service
- Poor technology skills
- Misinformation regarding the availability of telehealth services
- Lack of follow-up supervision
- Loss of motivation to attend treatment
Attending treatment online or over-the-phone is not the same as speaking with a physician or therapist face-to-face. Consequently, relapse may occur.
The Shortage of Drugs Needed for Treatment
Many of the drugs involved in addiction are currently used to sedate COVID-19 patients before putting them on a respirator. These include fentanyl, codeine, morphine, and others. To help overcome this shortage, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency approved an increase in production quotas for these drugs and others like them. While this means more opioids available to doctors and clinics, it also increases the risk of opioids falling into the wrong hands, thus worsening the opioid epidemic.
It’s an unavoidable pitfall for those on the front lines fighting the drug epidemic. Sadly, it also contributes to the problems by making these drugs more readily available. Even though tight restrictions apply, these drugs always seem to find their way to the streets.
Get Treatment for Drug Use at Memphis Recovery Centers Today
If you or a loved one is a victim of the drug epidemic and need treatment for alcohol or drug use, don’t be afraid to reach out to a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center nearby. Search for one that offers an individualized approach in the treatment of substance use disorder and whose priority is getting you into an effective treatment program and helping you remain in treatment for as long as you need. Even now, in this time of a global pandemic, recovery from addiction is a top priority.