We all know that Covid-19 turned all of our lives upside down. From the entire country shutting down, losing jobs, not being able to see loved ones, and having to deal with the effects of a virus that has horrible symptoms.
Covid-19 Increased the levels of Substance Abuse in our Loved Ones
One of the unpleasant side effects of the Covid pandemic is an increase in substance abuse in the country. Covid, both the virus itself and the unanticipated effects from the containment strategy, drastically increased everyone’s stress levels. Some people lost their jobs, others lost their entire business. Families found themselves spending ALL their time together. Parents have to manage to have their children home all day while they are also trying to work from home. Not having enough computers for everyone to do their work. The internet is down!! Problems that existed before the pandemic, seem amplified in the restricted environment.
The Effects of Extra Stress
People need relief from all that stress! What’s a person to do when you normally go to the gym to work off the stress, but the gym is closed?! Getting together with your friends to vent about the spouse and kids, going out to a movie, or just going out anywhere is no longer an outlet. Many healthy methods of dealing with stress were not available during the pandemic due to restrictions and business closures. Sadly, some people could not find healthy coping strategies and many turned to drugs and alcohol. For others, that was already their coping mechanism. The Centers for Disease Control reported a 13.3% increase in people who chose substance use for their Covid coping strategy.
Then there are the people who were struggling to overcome their substance abuse through treatment. Many had their treatment program interrupted because restrictions closed the recovery facility. Sadly, this contributed to an increase in overdose deaths (18% nationwide). When a person who has been recovering from substance abuse hasn’t been used in a while, their bodies are no longer used to the effects. Their tolerance is significantly decreased, but they resume at the old usage level. It is too much for their body to process and ends in an overdose death.
Other Effects of Substance Abuse
Then there are the innocent victims of substance abuse. The babies born into the world are already dependent on the mom’s substance of choice. The increase in addicted baby births was already alarmingly on the rise prior to the pandemic. Although no official numbers are available yet, hospital and health care workers have noticed a further increase since the onset of the pandemic.
When Knowing Matters
Covid restrictions are lifting and life is getting back to “normal”. This is the time when knowing matters the most. We need to keep our loved ones safe from themselves and get them the help they need immediately. If you suspect anything, you should have that difficult conversation, get them tested, and get them into the appropriate program to support their needs.
If you are a business owner, hopefully, things are looking up for you. Business is ramping back up and you are ready to add more employees. If a drug screening is not already part of your hiring process, you may want to consider adding it to protect your investment. Detecting substance abuse before you hire an employee will save you money and time.
Are you worried a family member you are responsible for may be struggling with a substance abuse issue? We can set your mind at ease and answer that nagging question. Give us a call or fill out a lab test request form.