Louisiana Sees Uptick in Substance Abuse During Pandemic
Counselors across the nation, including right here in Acadiana, are seeing an increase in substance abuse. The stress from a pandemic year doesn’t help and for so many reasons. According to a study by the New York Times, drug and alcohol related deaths have risen 24% since the pandemic began. The pandemic has posed so many challenges that can knock an addict off their feet. Something many didn’t even think about is that the pandemic also makes it difficult for counselors to help those who need help.
The Solutions Recovery Center in Lafayette is just one of the resources available for help. Bill Richard, Solutions Recovery Center administrator, told KATC that they’ve seen an increase in relapses. Counselors at the Solutions Recovery Center have seen a 20% increase in returning patients and a 5% increase in new patients.
Because of the seclusion and increased stressors and the need for more coping skills, and only having drugs and alcohol sometimes is a primary way of coping and they're turning to that more. – Bill Richard
Like everyone else since the pandemic, counselors are having to move to virtual services instead of face-to-face treatments. Although it does help to have someone to talk to, it’s just not as effective as that in-person process. Thankfully, now there are some resources available for in-person since the restrictions have lightened a bit.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health website, substance use and related disorders services are provided statewide by each regional human service district/authority, or through the Healthy Louisiana plans for the Medicaid population. The districts and authorities provide treatment for people suffering from addictions to drugs, alcohol or gambling, as well as support for their families and friends.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, you can call the Alcohol/Drug helpline at 877-664-2245.
For Mental Health immediate emergencies call 911, or 211 for non-emergencies.