Addiction Treatment in the Time of COVID-19

Addiction Treatment in the Time of COVID-19

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    As the Intake Manager of an addiction treatment center, I have a lot of love and compassion in my heart for the addict and family that still suffers. In our new normal, alcohol aisles are emptying in grocery stores as individuals quarantine themselves with a bottle. Nicotine sales are through the roof as individuals in fear try to cope during these challenging times.

    The epidemic of addiction is still a critical issue during the pandemic of COVID-19, although coronavirus is all we hear about on the news. Substance use disorder has a higher mortality rate than any virus. In 2019, there was a 14% increase in substance use disorder related hospitalizations in Orange County since 2008, and drug-induced death rate grew by 33%.

    Accessible addiction treatment is more necessary than ever. Our healthcare system needs individuals in active addiction who are accessing the hospital system with acute medical crises (i.e. overdose, alcohol poisoning, seizures) to be able to move into long term care, freeing up hospital resources for individuals affected directly by coronavirus and related effects.  

    Unfortunately, people are postponing addiction treatment indefinitely due to the uncertainty of our current climate. I know the nature of the disease of substance use disorder, and despite orders to shelter in place or socially distance, people addicted to illegal narcotics are leaving the house and facing multiple risks to support their habit. As intake and treatment professionals, how do we let our callers know it’s much safer for them to come into treatment than continue using drugs and alcohol addictively at home?

    As a residential treatment facility, New Directions for Women is considered an essential business and will continue to accept new patients and treat current ones. We will continue to operate while following the CDC guidelines and increased cautionary measures. A full list of those measures can be found here: COVID-19

    What we always tell potential patients seeking addiction treatment is not to isolate. However, right now the general public is being told to stay away from others. What a wonderful gift that the women in residential care have a group of sober sisters all living on the same campus to spend time with. They’re learning tools and receiving professional guidance on maintaining connection in a safe, secure setting while practicing social distancing on our four acre campus.

    The women in our outpatient addiction treatment program are showing up early! They’re craving sisterhood just like all of us are. What a blessing they are in treatment with other likeminded women.  Our alumnae are sharing their recovery testimonials via Zoom in lieu of an in-person weekly alumnae meeting. Our clinicians have led groups to share and communicate virtual ways to safely seek connection, a huge part of recovery. It has been amazing to see each woman we serve show up for themselves to take care of their recovery.

    During challenging times, I always look for the lesson. I believe the universe is telling us its time to be still, and take care of ourselves. It’s time to listen to that quiet voice that knows what we need. For many out there, that inner knowing is that its time to seek sobriety.

    We are grateful to have support of donors who raise funds for partial scholarships for treatment. New Directions for Women will provide discounted rates during this challenging time to give families the best shot at sustained sobriety from drugs and alcohol. Give us a call, and let us help you on your recovery journey. We’ll continue to be here, and we are prepared to help.

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