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.
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.
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