Outpatient recovery programs face unique challenges during pandemic

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Drug relapses are on the rise, so the need for recovery programs and outreach are even more important during the pandemic.

“The isolation piece of this is what has been the most detrimental to these folks,” said Paul Trivette, Pathway Healthcare Vice President of Government Relations.

As outpatient recovery programs tend to become the more affordable and accessible option for those seeking treatment, Trivette says it’s a double-edged sword.

“The opposite of addiction is not abstinence; the opposite of addiction is connection,” Trivette said.

But without in-person connection, sometimes it’s hard to keep people in recovery. Trivette says surprisingly people have been more responsive to virtual counseling.

“Sometimes it’s difficult just to make the drive there. Just to make the trip to get into treatment,” Trivette said.

The flip side of the issue is that if people are alone during the pandemic, it can be difficult to help addicts when they falter.

“When folks that have lost their jobs, lost their insurance, those kind of things have created barriers for people to get to care,” Trivette said.

Trivette said Pathway Healthcare has been able to let people pay as they go during the pandemic. And counselors at their Springfield and Madison centers are following up with patients more frequently because of the increased need for services.

While the opioid epidemic has taken center stage recently, Trivette explained that a lot of people are turning to alcohol and stimulant addictions while in isolation.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has a 24/7 hotline for anyone struggling with addiction or in need of treatment at 855-CRISIS-1 or at (855) 274-7471.

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