Coping with substance abuse amid pandemic


Pandemic brings added stress for those battling drug addiction

(KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas is one of four states, seeing a decline in opioid-related deaths that’s according to Governor Asa Hutchinson. Despite this, he said the state still faces challenges combating drug abuse.

Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic can bring on added stress for those battling addiction. 

The Salvation Army of NWA’s Rehabilitation Program is one of the area centers here to assist those dealing with substance abuse.

Program Director Greg Chambers said when someone is active and suddenly finds themselves isolated or without a job, it can lead to depression.

Some lean towards drugs or alcohol use as a way to cope or a way to escape their problems.

Chambers said those in recovery are also impacted by the current COVID-19 health crisis.  Many of the patients depend on the classes and meetings to maintain their sobriety. 

Due to some facilities now offering virtual meetings instead of in-person sessions, some find themselves without the support they previously had. 

Brandon Smith has been clean and sober for over 2 years and Brian Drummond for over 15 years. They said the program has been a big help. 

“The spiritual aspect of the program is what keeps us grounded and keeps us close. Staying grounded in the same place for a long time, the more structure that we can get, the better off than we are,” said Drummond.

The residential rehab program is open to men ages 18-65. You must commit to living substance-free for 6 months. The program includes a work component, nightly classes, weekly worship and individual mentoring.

Governor Hutchinson said the drop in deaths related to opioid abuse is because treatment programs in the state are working.  The governor announced Arkansas will receive a 21-million-dollar grant to be used towards education, treatment and recovery programs.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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