Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, counselors are seeing an uptick in substance abuse.
For many, the pandemic has presented unique challenges. Social isolation has made it difficult for those with addiction issues to cope, but counselors say the pandemic has even presented a challenge for those wanting to help those who are struggling.
The Solutions Recovery Center in Lafayette is just one of the resources available for help.
"The pandemic has isolated them some from recovery or the ability to connect with other people. We've seen an increase in relapses and that's pretty significant," said Bill Richard, Solutions Recovery Center administrator. "I think it kind of holds true across the board, we're seeing an increase in alcohol sales, we're seeing an increase in alcohol consumption."
According to a study by the New York Times, since the pandemic began, drug and alcohol related deaths have risen 24% in Louisiana.
Here in Acadiana, 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," Richard explained.
Since the pandemic, the center has transitioned to more virtual services, but Richard said it's not the same treatment.
"It is somewhat effective but it does take away from the personal effect that one gets through being able to sit with a counselor or sit with a group of people and share those feelings," he added. "You lose that feeling or contact that comes with that and that's part of the healing process too but what do what we can to try to get that service out to as many people as we can."
Even though the center is seeing an increase, it does have resources available in-person and on their website solutionstoaddiction.com.
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