Rolling Stone Article Sheds Light on Increased Difficulty of Addiction Recovery During Natural Disasters
September has become synonymous with recovery in the national health community. Under the umbrella of National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, September has been embraced by the larger health industry to focus on recovery by raising awareness, connecting individuals and providing resources and applicable treatment services to individuals in need.
As September comes to a close, we have witnessed the health industry rally on multiple fronts while facing many challenges. One of the biggest challenges has been presented by natural disasters. September is the start of hurricane season and this year has already seen a series of hurricanes (Harvey and Irma) that have ravished parts of Texas, Florida, the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico.
When natural disasters strike, those that are impacted are often at risk of losing everything. Those of us that are not in harms way are provided a front row seat today via the TV and Internet to the devastation that is occurring as a result of the flooding and broader storm destruction.
While acts of both heroism and despair are captured on TV and shared via the web, there is plenty of activity that is happening in the background with little awareness to the general public. For instance, no one hears how those fighting addiction can be impacted even more so during a natural disaster. Specifically, we have seen and been a part of the recovery industry’s immediate response to patients in need during natural disasters. At Center for Behavioral Health (CBH), we worked closely with our displaced patients to ensure that they had the means to service their recovery in a manner that was aligned to their prescribed course of treatment.
Rolling Stone Magazine recently published an article on the struggles that addicts endure when faced with a natural disaster. Specifically, the article shines a light on struggles that addicts face when trying to manage addiction while displaced. Questions that addicts face include:
- How can I secure the necessary medicine to curb my cravings?
- With little access to medication how am I going to self medicate?
- If I leave the area, how am I going to score?
- Where can I ride out the storm
This article profiled a number of addicts and their mindset and sourced valuable insight gained from research conducted after Hurricane Sandy in New York in October, 2012. Over the 8 months following Hurricane Sandy, 300 people were interviewed who inject drugs in New York City. Specific outcomes revealed that during the week after the storm 60% experienced withdrawals; 27% shared drug injection or preparation equipment or injected with people they normally would not inject with. The article also revealed that 70% of those in opioid maintenance therapy could not obtain sufficient doses.
While these numbers are alarming, I believe that the numbers are even higher after the latest rounds of hurricanes that raged on during the month of September. The opioid epidemic has grown significantly from 2012 and continues to grow and touch all aspects of today’s society. At the Center for Behavioral Health, we are in the trenches working to provide proven solutions to help curb the desire for drugs and place patients on a path to recovery. At our treatment centers we provide medication in combination with counseling and other valuable services. The holistic approach allows addicts to understand their disease and make positive choices. Below are a few of the testimonials of current CBH patients.
“Treatment has been great for me. It has turned my life around from a person who was losing everything from foreclosure to being very financially independent and being able to adequately take care of my family (vacations, college tuition, and retirement fund). Treatment has been great for the family, my wife and I were both abusing, lost our children to CPS and were at rock bottom. Treatment allowed us to regain our children and to live a healthy family and social life. I recommend treatment to anyone who has a problem with any addiction.”
“In 2000, I became addicted to pain pills. I tried to stop taking them without any success for ten years. In 2010, I went to a Methadone treatment center and it went well for 2 years until I quit at 20 mgs, not knowing that I should have weaned myself all the way down to zero. So, again, I was using. So, in 2013, I came to the treatment center again and all has been well. I plan to phase down to zero this time.”
“The Methadone treatment is the only thing that has ever helped me. It provides stability in my life and breaks old drug chasing behavior. It takes the power away from opiates because if you use while on methadone, it does nothing. This treatment saved my life, literally.”