Treating Opioid Addiction Is More Important Than Ever During the Pandemic

By The Fix staff 11/24/20

Overdose rates have risen in many states, and people with substance use disorder may be especially at risk for catching coronavirus.

Image: 
Man on couch wearing mask, looks depressed
The pandemic stressors are leaving many people susceptible to addiction and dependence, especially on opioid drugs. Photo 177208172 © Marcos Calvo Mesa | Dreamstime.com

Before the United States was fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we were focused on another public health crisis: the opioid epidemic. In 2018, nearly 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, an amount four times higher than those who died from drug overdoses in 1999.

Now, more than a quarter of a million Americans have died of coronavirus. But the opioid epidemic is still claiming tens of thousands of lives. The pandemic stressors are leaving many people susceptible to addiction and dependence, especially on opioid drugs. Those who are currently dependent on opioids or struggling with addiction may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Although many Americans are vulnerable, those suffering from addiction are at much higher risks for health complications. This means that now, more than ever, it's critical to get life-saving treatment for opioid use disorder.

Opioid Overdose Rates Are Rising

The national dialogue about health and wellness has pivoted from focusing on addiction to focusing on coronavirus. But while many people are working to address the pandemic, more people die from opioid use and abuse.

In October, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a brief warning that opioid overdose rates are increasing in 40 states since the start of the pandemic. The AMA emphasized the need for more access to effective and evidence-based drug treatments. This is exactly the type of treatment offered by Waismann Method® Opioid Treatment and Detoxification Specialists. 

Right now, many people are trying to cope with emotional pain and day-to-day instabilities. Simultaneously, due to the virus, people are in isolation from their loved ones and support systems. This situation creates a perfect storm, which leads many people to turn to opioids or other substances in an attempt to alleviate that pain and stress. 

Medically Assisted Treatment 

Waismann Method provides those suffering from opioid use disorder an opportunity to get through detox under a medical team's care in an accredited hospital. Being in a hospital allows people to experience withdrawal in a much safer and comfortable way than other non-medically assisted options. Following this effective medically assisted treatment, patients are emotionally present to address the root causes of their substance abuse. They are also free from physical dependence to start a healthier life without opioids.

Opioid Abuse Leaves You Vulnerable to COVID-19

With hundreds of thousands of Americans dead, most people are doing what they can to reduce their chances of contracting COVID-19. A study released in September by the National Institutes of Health found that people with substance use disorder are more likely to get coronavirus. Within this group, people who use opioids are the most likely to contract the virus.

"The lungs and cardiovascular system are often compromised in people with SUD, which may partially explain their heightened susceptibility to COVID-19," said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Another contributing factor is the marginalization of people with addiction, making it harder for them to access health care services. It is incumbent upon clinicians to meet the unique challenges of caring for this vulnerable population, just as they would any other high-risk group."

One way to reduce your risk for contracting coronavirus is to address your substance use disorder. Whether you have a full-blown opioid addiction or are dependent on opioids that have been prescribed to you by your doctor, rapid detox through Waismann Method® can help you quickly address your substance use disorder and potentially reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus.

Opioid Treatment as Part of Overall Health

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to reevaluate their health and take steps to be as healthy as possible in the future. If you regularly take opioids, your health can suffer. Physical dependency on the drug can leave you feeling stuck and can even progress into an addiction. Addiction is a behavioral health condition that undermines your overall health, plus your relationships with friends and family.

Despite all the consequences of opioid use, many people delay treatment because they are scared about going through the physical and emotional distress of an opioid withdrawal. The idea that suffering through withdrawal teaches people a lesson is archaic and often dangerous. Many people keep using drugs to prevent suffering, and sadly enough, they end up overdosing. 

We need to do more, and we need to do better. Science has come a long way, and medically assisted treatment centers like Waismann Method® continue to provide a solution to those fears; a solution that is not just humane, but also effective.

Although addressing opioid dependency always has health benefits, it's especially crucial during the pandemic. Receiving treatment for Opioid Use Disorder can help prevent a possibly life-ending overdose, reduce your risk of catching the virus, and, more importantly, help you live the long and healthy life you deserve.

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