Current Increase in Need for Recovery Support
The current headlines around the addiction epidemic read…
Read through some of these articles, and you will find that COVID-19 has led to an increase in the need to support individuals in and seeking recovery from substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.
Isolation in combination with an economic downturn and our current social climate has led to an increase in mental health disorders like anxiety and depression and substance use disorders. Many turn to substance use, misuse, and abuse as negative coping mechanisms for their mental health struggles.
Use of legal drugs like alcohol has increased. People are wondering if it is okay to turn to highly debated drugs like marijuana to cope.
In turn, we are seeing an increase in drug overdoses since the start of the country’s isolation period. According to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), “There was a 17.59 percent increase in overdoses reported during the post stay-at-home order time period [March 19, 2020 – May 19, 2020], with over 61 percent of ODMAP participating counties reporting an increase in that time.”
The problem is not isolated to one particular area. It is widespread across the country. According to an article released August 13, 2020, Victoria Scanlon, CEO of Charlotte Behavioral Healthcare, is quoted saying, “Between February and June of this year when COVID began, we saw a 200% increase in Charlotte County’s involuntary Marchman Acts… These are numbers we haven’t seen before.” The article goes on to explain, “The Marchman Act allows family or friends of someone struggling with addiction to confidentially petition a judge to get that person treatment against their will.” ARCHway had the privilege of talking to Scanlon recently who shared that she is working to keep up with the need. Currently her staff is safely going into the homes of clients when appropriate to provide them with treatment and clinical services. She has seen an increase in telehealth services across the board, but she sees a distinct benefit when those seeking recovery are able to meet face-to-face with their providers. The human connection can be extremely important to sustaining recovery, and many just aren’t receiving the support that comes with those interactions.
Recovery housing is seeing a continued increase in need also. A safe and supportive living environment can be vital to one sustaining recovery, but without the financial means due to loss of jobs, residents of these programs won’t be able to stay in this environment. Housing providers like Dana Herrera, who operated New Life Sober Living in Ft. Myers, Florida, are having to shut down for good. Herrera shared that financially, clients didn’t have the money to cover the cost of their stay, and she was struggling to enforce stay-at-home guidelines, which put her residents at risk. She also saw a significant increase in relapse despite intentionally trying to keep residents busy with exercise, meetings, and additional activities. Herrera said, “I had more this year relapse than I had in 3 years.”
All in all, we cannot forget about the existing addiction epidemic that is growing alongside the current pandemic.
ARCHway strives to offer to support to those in and seeking recovery, and we do this through our Advocates for HOPE program. Advocates for HOPE are individuals thriving in recovery and caregivers affected by addiction. We offer conversations to individuals and families who don’t know where to turn and provide emotional support, information, and advocacy for individuals and families regarding options for treatment, recovery housing, or other recovery resources.
Since March, ARCHway has received 77 requests for assistance/support.
ARCHway was involved in 2 in-person events being cancelled — The Ohio Clambake in collaboration with Glenbeigh in Ohio and ARCHway’s St. Louis Trivia Night. Both events were missed by community members and ARCHway staff and volunteers.
Despite this dip, ARCHway has continued to provide grants and offer support.
Since January, ARCHway has been able to provide over $42,000 in grants as scholarships to support those in and seeking recovery.
To continue to meet the growing need, ARCHway is being creative with fundraising and educational efforts like our upcoming Virtual “Funding Recovery” Concert Series and the Free-to-the-Public Seminar featuring Annette Franks. We are also working tirelessly to advertise and organize our upcoming Murder Mystery Dinner and Silent Auction in Ft. Myers.
You can help by supporting these events!
ARCHway, We Believe in Recovery from the Disease of Addiction.