Embodied: Finding Care For Substance Use Disorders During A Pandemic

May 21, 2020

Crystal Moore, left, lives in a transitional community for people in recovery from substance use disorders in the Triangle. She saw her community band together to support each other through potentially triggering aspects of the pandemic.
Credit Courtesy of Crystal Moore

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, people with substance use disorders and those in recovery find themselves at risk for relapses and overdoses. Feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety act as triggers for substance use and mental health issues. 

Though recovery providers have scrambled to continue providing care, the pandemic has made some resources physically or financially unable to continue. In a survey of 70 addiction treatment organizations, Addiction Professionals of North Carolina found that 57% of organizations had to close at least one program. But treatment centers are finding new ways to connect people in need with the resources and assistance. Patient care has moved online, as well as recovery group meetings.

On this installment of Embodied, host Anita Rao talks with four guests about challenges and stories of resilience in recovery communities during the pandemic: Crystal Moore is a member of a recovery community in Raleigh; Dr. Steve North is a family physician and adolescent medicine specialist who serves as the state medical director for Eleanor Health, a substance use disorder treatment provider; Jarmichael Harris is the collegiate recovery community coordinator at East Carolina University; and Lona (LC) Currie is the creator of the Hope in Recovery Network and the Recovery SoulFood Podcast and YouTube channel.

Interview Highlights

 

Moore on the way the pandemic can be triggering for people in recovery:

 

The job searching is limited and having to do that online — sometimes that can be very stressful for individuals that are just coming into recovery. And I've seen how that stressor can affect a person being able to maintain their sobriety.

 

North on the benefits to moving more treatment to telemedicine:

 

The great thing is we're able to see folks in their homes where they are often more comfortable, where they have their own support systems and we can talk to a family member more readily than we could in the office.

 

Harris on how his group of college students in recovery are supporting each other:

 

We start to see this element of “peerness” really show up. They were actually starting to reach out to one another more often. You know, a student might reach out in our group chat and say: Hey, you know, I'm really struggling this week. And two or three students will respond immediately or a backchannel conversation starts happening.

 

 

We just all have to remember that we all have an individual path, and that we've got to learn to love people right where they are. - LC Currie

Resources

Hope In Recovery Network Facebook page

Recovery SoulFood podcast

Recovery SoulFood YouTube channel

 

Alcohol Drug Council of NC (ADCNC): Substance use disorder treatment information and referral services, telephone recovery coaching

Text Mon-Fri, 12-6 p.m., 919-908-3196

Call 24/7 365 800-688-4232

 

Recovery Alliance Initiative: Links to free virtual and digital resources to help people initiate and sustain recovery

 

North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition: Free harm reduction education, supplies and outreach

 

Poe Center for Health Education: Free substance use prevention and programming for kids and teens

 

Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications: Information about how to access communication devices and internet service for low-income consumers

 

NC 211: An information and referral service for families to get free and confidential information about health, human services and resources in their community. Help available in multiple languages. Call 24/7 2-1-1