The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone. In March, millions of Americans began living under stay-at-home orders. Work and education have suddenly and rapidly moving online. Many people have lost their jobs. During the quarantine, we learned to appreciate social gatherings and activities that take place outside the home.
During those early pandemic days, something else happened. According to the research company Nielsen, online sales of alcohol rose to 234 percent compared to the same period a year ago. In May, The Wall Street Journal reported that mail-order prescription drug delivery had risen during the coronavirus lockdown. Drug overdose deaths have increased by about 10 percent, according to the recent report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to try to cope with stressful situations. And since the lockdown has been hard on us, this statistics is not so surprising.
These days, organizations face some challenges in managing surges in the demand for their services. Due to the increased substance abuse and the number of people who need help, these challenges are even tougher. Free drug rehab centers feel extra pressure. And that’s why.
The loss of jobs and, as a result, no funds for treatment lead people in need of treatment to despair. Since unemployment and financial hardships are major stressors that exacerbate substance abuse, this situation can create a vicious cycle. Free substance abuse programs may be the way out.
It’s advisable to control alcohol consumption, especially when you are stressed. And it’s vital to start searching for help as soon as you notice that you or someone you know has problems with alcohol or drugs.
How the Pandemic Really Contributes to Drug and Alcohol Consumption by Americans
The Recovery Village (a rehab facility for addiction) shed some light on the impact the pandemic is currently having on alcohol and drug use in the U.S. In September, the organization surveyed the past-month substance use. The survey was filled by 1,000 Americans aged >=18 years.
So, the most widely used substances were:
- Alcohol—88 percent
- Marijuana—37 percent
- Prescription opioids—15 percent
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc.)—11 percent
- Prescription stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin, etc.)—10 percent
- Cocaine—9 percent.
Besides, many respondents reported higher levels of substance use in the previous month:
- 55 percent started to consume more alcohol
- 36 percent started to use illicit drugs more often.
Interestingly, the level of use was higher among the residents of the states with the greatest extent of the coronavirus outbreak. 67 percent reported an increase in alcohol consumption in the previous month, and one in four respondents reported a considerable leap.
The participants identified the reasons why they drank or took some drugs more than usual. The answers are as follows:
- Coping with stress—53 percent
- Breaking up boredom—39 percent
- Relieving mental health conditions (anxiety, depression, etc.)—32 percent.
An increase in drinking may be a sign of alcohol abuse and development of addiction. The same refers to drugs. Nobody starts out intending to become a drug addict, but many people get caught in its trap.
Receiving Treatment During the Pandemic
Clearly, people with substance use disorders can’t wait until the pandemic’s end. Sooner or later, addiction starts taking its toll. Serious health issues, problems at home, work, or college, emotional exhaustion, and overdoses are major consequences of the wrong unhealthy choices.
At a time when socialization is restricted, people in recovery who rely on face-to-face communication for accountability and community strength may feel the toll. That’s why many services have moved online, including free drug addiction help.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA,) Narcotics Anonymous (NA,) and similar groups have boosted their online presence. People in a 12-step support program now can join virtual meetings via their computers or phones. Phone conferences and chat rooms are also available. Also, addiction help hotlines, both local and national, keep working as usual.
Some treatment facilities do some face-to-face meetings with all the CDC precautions. They are hosted for individuals with severe addiction, high risks of relapse, and co-occurring psychiatric conditions.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, rehab facilities conduct phone or video screenings before letting them in. It reduces the time a person needs to spend outside and prepares the staff to accommodate the needs of a particular patient.
Meanwhile, the federal government permitted registered health care providers to dispense prescriptions (for medication to treat opioid use disorder) using telemedicine and without an obligatory in-person medical evaluation.
Where to Look for Free Treatment Services
According to one SAMHSA’s survey, 90 percent of people who need drug addiction treatment do not receive it. And the lack of finance is one of the reasons. If your budget has also suffered recently, you may want to know how to get rehab for free.
Fortunately, there are hundreds of rehabs in the U.S. that offer evidence-based treatment and trained supportive staff. They can be divided into three groups:
- Private Rehab Centers: These are privately-owned facilities that function as a non-profit business. They get funds from charitable organizations and volunteers. The Salvation Army’s recovery program falls into this category.
- State-Funded Rehabs: These centers rely on funding from the state government. They are designed to help individuals who don’t have enough money or sufficient insurance coverage.
- Faith-Based Organizations: Rehabs for many faiths and denominations offer free assistance for religious individuals. The Christian faith-based program is the most common. In addition to addiction therapy sessions, it includes educational classes that teach spiritual principles and how they can fasten your recovery.
Also, don’t forget about organizations like AA, NA, and Smart Recovery. And you can use addiction hotlines to find “free drug rehab centers near me.”
As you can see, support groups, treatment centers, and rehab facilities across the U.S. are adjusting their services to offer accountability and community distantly. That means that you or your loved one can quit drinking or taking drugs despite the difficult time of the pandemic and strict safety measures. You will be offered clinical or online treatment options that fit your needs.