HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

COVID-19 Impacts Drug Abuse & How People With Addictions Get Help

Sep 1, 2020, 11:07 PM | Updated: 11:52 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A recent report shows drug overdoses are on the rise across the country, and the founder of a local nonprofit said the pandemic has impacted the way people with drug addictions can get help.

“It’s taken the real personal connection out of it,” said Brandon Allan, founder and president of Addicted We Stand. “I got clean because I found some type of connection. Kind of like a brotherhood.”

Allan has been in the fight since then. He started his nonprofit shortly after one of his best friends died of a drug overdose. His son is also named after another friend who died of an overdose. And since the start of the pandemic, Allan said he’s seen a growing number of people reaching out for help.

“We’ve definitely been having an influx of people reaching out saying, ‘hey I need help’ or ‘hey I need treatment’ or even just, ‘I need to talk to somebody,’” he said.

The Addicted We Stand public Facebook page offers a platform for people struggling with similar addictions to come together. But the lack of in-person meetings, service opportunities and beds at treatment centers since March can add to the challenge of recovery.

“I mean it’s a more stressful situation. You take a group of addicts or recovering addicts even and their coping mechanism they’ve used for so long has been to resort back to drugs,” Allan said. “We’re still trying to provide resources that are reaching out but it was nothing like before where we could get together, meet, connect on a personal level.”

The Washington-based group Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program tracks drug overdoses in the U.S. Its recent report shows a roughly 18% jump in overdoses when comparing the weeks before the start of the pandemic to the weeks after people were asked to stay home.

“The isolation and the ability for people to connect and get to meetings,” said Amber Baum, adding her view that “this year will be the deadliest year for overdoses in 10 years.”

Baum, who is with Overdose Awareness Utah, was at the Utah State Capitol Monday, leading a memorial for those who have died from drug overdoses in Utah. She worried about how the virus and its accompanying guidelines are impacting treatment and support groups for people who need it most.

“It gets so overlooked. It shouldn’t but it does,” she said. “You could be sitting next to your neighbor who’s addicted to oxycontin or hydrocodone or any other opiate and you just don’t know because most people suffer in silence.”

“Obviously, it breaks my heart because what we’re trying to do is lower those numbers,” said Allan, who was also at the memorial service. “Basically, we wanted to give people a place they could reach out, find resources and connect with other addicts that were in the same struggle trying to better their lives.”

Allan said help is still available and he urged those wanting change to connect with him and his volunteers. He said some support groups are meeting where they can in-person. But he patiently waits for the day when they can connect freely again.

“Almost like a family after you’ve been disconnected and so isolated during your addiction,” he said. “It’s nice to grab a hold of that. And yeah, it’s hard to find it over a computer or over a phone.”

If you or someone is looking for help from drug addiction, call the national helpline: 1-800-662-4357.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Healthy Mind Matters

...
Ayanna Likens

Coming together on International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

While the loss of a loved one is always difficult, losing someone to suicide can add another level of pain to your grief. Saturday is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day — a chance for families to come together for healing and support.
13 days ago
...
Karah Brackin

Huntsman Mental Health partners with The Ad Council in multi-million dollar initiative

The Huntsman Mental Health Institute is teaming up with The Ad Council in an effort to reshape the conversations around mental health and help millions of Americans when they need it most.
21 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin

How an emoji can help people struggling with their mental health

Now, maybe more than ever, communities have focused on mental health and the importance of taking care of yourself. 
1 month ago
(Mark Wetzel/KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero

Widow of fallen Utah officer using experience to help others heal

Prioritizing our mental health no longer carries the negative stigma it used to, but it all starts with getting help. A Utah County woman who lost her husband in the line of duty eight years ago knows about as well as anyone how important this is.
1 month ago
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)...
Karah Brackin

Gov. Cox warns of social media impact on teen mental health

Gov. Spencer Cox spoke with parents, teachers, and community leaders in Holladay Monday about the negative impact social media has had on the mental health of teens.
2 months ago
Jed Boal

Experts recommend screening kids for mental health issues

A national health task force now recommends that pediatricians screen kids for mental health issues as early as eight years old.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
COVID-19 Impacts Drug Abuse & How People With Addictions Get Help