Intervention Needed Amid A Pandemic

As the year approaches the eleventh hour, it’s fair to say that 2020 has been the most challenging year in living memory for Americans. Anxiety, fear, isolation, and depression are all too common, and many people are coping in harmful ways. The use of drugs and alcohol is a serious problem, perhaps now more than ever. Many people require intervention.

Those who lack the ability to cope with trials and tribulations in healthy ways are prone to seek chemical relief. Mind-altering substances might provide temporary solace from uncomfortable feelings, but self-medicating can have harmful consequences.

Vulnerable Americans are at risk of becoming physically dependent on drugs and alcohol. Addiction can develop from using drugs and alcohol to cope. When that happens, it may require an intervention to begin the process of turning one’s life around.

More research is needed, but there are reports that it’s more challenging to access mental and behavioral health care because of COVID-19. Moreover, there are indications illicit drug use is on the rise. The combination of increased drug use and barriers to treatment will likely have severe, life-threatening consequences.

Please reach out for help if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope with the new status quo, and find it challenging to stop. The longer the cycle of addiction persists, the more difficult it is to make lasting changes.

If you have a loved one who is abusing an addictive substance, you should consider staging an intervention. Reach out to a professional interventionist to learn more about the process. An interventionist can guide your family and help you achieve a favorable outcome.

Fentanyl, Heroin, and Nonprescribed Opioid Misuse

At least 1,115,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, and at least 40.2 million positive coronavirus cases have been reported. In the United States, more than 8.1 million people have contracted the potentially fatal virus. Sadly, nearly 220,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. Moreover, there has been a rise in new cases in recent weeks.

Research suggests that many Americans are turning to drugs for managing life amid a pandemic. The Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study reveals an uptick in opioid misuse correlated to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created the perfect storm for a rise in substance use disorders and other forms of prescription and illicit drug misuse. Stress, job losses, and depression compounded with isolation and a lack of access to health services can trigger prescription medication overuse, illicit drug use, or relapses,” said co-author Harvey W. Kaufman, M.D., Senior Medical Director, Head of Health Trends Research Program, Quest Diagnostics.

The study showed that the drug positivity rate for non-prescribed fentanyl and heroin rose 35 percent and 44 percent respectively during the pandemic. The use of non-prescribed opioid painkillers also increased, by 10 percent. Moreover, positivity for fentanyl increased substantially among specimens that were also positive for other drugs:

  • Amphetamines by 89%
  • Benzodiazepines 48%
  • Cocaine 34%
  • Other Opiates 39%

Researchers analyzed more than 872,000 nationwide lab results for January 1, 2019-March 14, 2020 and March 15-May 16, 2020, according to a news release. The test results are representative of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The findings appear in the peer-reviewed journal Population Health Management.

“Our Health Trends data demonstrate the consequences of the pandemic, with dramatic increases of misuse of non-prescribed drugs at a time when fentanyl is also on the rise,” said Dr. Kaufman. “Our nation is grappling with a drug epidemic inside a pandemic. Patients and providers need increased access to support services, clinical care, and drug testing to stop drug misuse from claiming more lives.”

Staging an Intervention

If your loved one is struggling with drugs, alcohol, or mental illness, please contact Whitman Recovery Service. With more than 30 years of experience, our team can help you stage an intervention with a positive outcome; we have a 98 percent success rate. We are available at (210) 291-0278.