During the COVID-19 Pandemic, many in the recovery communities are faced with obstacles to overcoming addiction. Not only do these hardships pose a risk to one’s physical health, but also to the integrity of recovery. Across the nation, there are more and more reports of individuals overdosing on drugs and alcohol.

In response to these incidents around the world, many local government officials and organizations are beginning to take specific steps to reach out to individuals about the availability of help for drug and alcohol addiction. While the Corona Virus pandemic continues to affect the lives of nearly everyone, people around the country are still taking steps to ensure that people can get the help they need.

At Stonewall Institute, we understand that these are trying times for people seeking assistance for drug and alcohol addiction, as well as those maintaining their sobriety. By examining other state’s policies, we can see that many government and private organizations are doing their best to ensure that help is available. Whether through more vigorous outreach programs, online resources, or policy changes for treatment, Stonewall Institute, as well as other organizations across the nation are looking for ways to provide recovery care for those looking to free themselves from the grip of addiction. If you or a loved one need help for substance abuse, please do not hesitate to call us at 602-535-6468

How Burlington, VT Authorities are Addressing Addiction During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In an effort to address drug and alcohol addiction in their city, Burlington, VT is scheduled to hold a virtual town hall meeting in order safely inform their citizens. The virtual town hall, being held through the App Zoom, will feature five panelists who will discuss available resources and tools for people in recovery. In addition, they will also be discussing the potential challenges those may likely face during this time, especially since stay-at-home orders are still in effect.

Experts in the Burlington area acknowledge the unique nature of each individual person’s recovery; one person’s struggles may not be as much of a problem for other, and visa-versa. Many recovery coaches and advocates also note that while there online resources and tools available, many people may not find them to be as effective as in-person support.

Cameron Lauf, a local recovery advocate in Burlington, summarizes his experience of isolation during COVID-19 Pandemic with the following statement:

“If I’m not able to shake the person’s hand, if I’m not able to be within that six-foot radius of a person, I still feel isolated. I still feel sort of left alone.”

Lauf, who is in recovery himself for over 6 years, notes how he was able to get in-person help and support for alcohol and heroin addiction. Given added layers of childhood trauma, Lauf further explains that his mental health was contingent upon genuine in-person connection.

“I could every day of the week go to a meeting and talk to other people in recovery. If I was struggling, I could have that face-to-face interaction which is what I needed. I needed to feel that I wasn’t alone.” Lauf stated in an interview with local Burlington reporters.

However, given the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several added layers of complication for those looking to change their lives or maintain their recovery. Not only does the stay-at-home order present issues for those who need in-person support, the prospect of relapse triggers in the home environment is also a very real threat. For those who began and continued substance abuse in their home, they are now constantly surrounded by relapse triggers, posing a substantial risk to those in recovery.

“And then they have to unlearn that behavior in the same environment with the same stimulus and the same triggers. It’s difficult,” Lauf explained.

For these individuals who are placed in this difficult predicament, The authorities in Burlington are attempting to reach as many as they can in order to assure that there is help and support available during these times. Even though the support may be in a different form, everyone can find some degree of help.

This is a vital strategy to take into consideration no matter where you are. If you or a loved are experiencing stressors from the pandemic, and are not sure where to turn for support, it is vital to reach out to numerous online support groups and communities in order to gain some form of a supportive social environment. At Stonewall Institute, we have a number of online resources we can help connect you with, please do hesitate to call us at 602-535-6468 for more information.

How Charleston, WV Authorities are Addressing Addiction During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In Charleston West Virginia, the state has taken proactive approach in using technology to combat the surging rates of drug addiction in their state. Due to extended mandatory social distancing order, a new app has been implemented in order to connect treatment providers with those in need.

West Virginia’s Office of Drug Control Policy from the Department of Health and Human Resources (or DHHR) has joined with an app known as Connections, which allows behavioral health services throughout the state to remain engaged and connected with patients and clients.

Bob Hansen, the Executive director of the Office of Drug Policy in West Virginia, made a statement about this app implementation with local news:

“Given the present dynamics that we are all in with the pandemic, we thought it was a great step since we are all social isolating to provide this app. It’s one way to keep people in recovery connected and supported,” Hansen stated.

Within the app, there will be available group discussions, socialization and support on a peer-basis, individualized messaging with practitioners, tracking for recovery progress, and eTherapy sessions for learning recovery skills and tools. In order to be compliant with HIPAA and online security standards, individuals in West Virginia will be able to use an alias name to preserve their anonymity. Also, Hansen also states that those connected to the app will also be able to remain in treatment longer. In addition, there are webinars with representatives in order to increase the app’s availability to people in recovery.

Hansen also remarks that the app would be a beneficial technological advanced for substance abuse treatment, with or without the pandemic.

“We want to make it available to providers first and then to individuals in recovery second if they are not tied to a particular provider. We want this app to be used as much as possible by as many people as possible,” Hansen said.

How ROANOKE, VA Authorities are Addressing Addiction During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Police chiefs in Roanoke, VA are noticing  substantial increase in deaths from drug overdoses in their area. Within the first four months of 2020, 18 people have already died from overdoses, surpassing their yearly average in just a short amount of time; and set to double the yearly total.

County police are now looking into methods to quell the rising numbers of overdoses in Roanoke by promoting and raising for the option of enrolling of entering drug and alcohol rehabilitation. In addition, local healthcare workers are also working to provide same-day access to behavioral health and substance abuse services during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Due to the treatment complications from the pandemic, many local facilities are expanding their treatment availability with online virtual services.

 Nancy Hans, the director of the Prevention Council of Roanoke, made several statements assuring that treatment providers are continuing to offer services such as narcotics anonymous meetings and trainings on how to administer drugs that prevent opioid overdoses via online.

“We may need to do it a little differently and think outside the box but we can still reach out and still connect with people,” Hans said.

How Stonewall Institute is Addressing Addiction During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Not only has our team at Stonewall Institute worked to provide more educational resources to our existing and prospective clients about being free from addiction during this time, we have also made numerous changes to our policies to ensure safe and reliable care. Our team has taken to strict sanitation and preventative measures to reduce unnecessary exposure to infected individuals, but we have also increased our sanitation standards to further prevent the prospect of infection.

We understand the struggle that many face in recovery, and we understand that the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic may cause some to bring the worth of recovery into question. However, we would like to assure you that living free from addiction is a worthy endeavor, no matter the outside circumstances we are faced with. If you feel alone during these times, it is crucial to understand that even in this isolation, there is help available. Our treatment professionals are still here, and ready to help anyone find recovery from drugs and alcohol. If you or a loved one are ready to take steps to be free from addiction, please call us at 602-535-6468 and we can help you get started.