A new survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) finds the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on treatment services for substance use disorders and mental health worldwide, Reuters reports.
Countries reported widespread disruption of many critical services, according to the survey. The survey found 57% of countries saw disruptions to counseling and psychotherapy; 65% to critical harm reduction services; and 45% to opioid agonist maintenance treatment for opioid dependence.
Thirty percent of countries reported disruptions to access for medications for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. In addition, 35% of countries reported disruptions to emergency interventions, including those for people experiencing prolonged seizures; severe substance use withdrawal syndromes; and delirium, often a sign of a serious underlying medical condition.
“We estimate, and preliminary information is telling us, that there may be an increase in people with mental, neurological and substance abuse-related conditions that will need attention,” said Devora Kestel, Director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.