Addiction experts say they are worried the isolation required to combat the coronavirus pandemic is a national relapse trigger, The New York Times reports.
Some experts say the ban on group gatherings will soon lead to a rise in drug overdoses. “When we provide treatment, we talk about relapse triggers,” said Dr. Tim K. Brennan, Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai West in New York. “I’m hard-pressed to think of a bigger relapse trigger than what we’re going through now as a country.”
The pandemic is affecting every aspect of addiction treatment, including 12-step programs, clinics that dispense daily doses of addiction treatment medication, and programs that provide clean syringes to people living on the street.
Alcoholics Anonymous is urging local chapters to use online meetings and phone counseling. Federal agencies have issued new rules that will allow clinics to dispense extended quantities of buprenorphine and methadone to patients deemed stable, so they will not have to visit clinics every day.