Publication date: Mar 23, 2020
But for those still grappling with their recovery – and who rely heavily on the structure of in-person meetings and group sessions – the forced isolation sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is a nightmare scenario that some experts fear could lead to a public health crisis.
-People are afraid,” said Kearse, who serves as vice president of recovery at Samaritan Daytop Village, a Queens-based drug treatment center.
Across Long Island, Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings have been canceled or moved into online settings, limiting vital in-person options for substance abuse addicts struggling in real-time to adapt to a new reality of social distancing.
Anxiety about a cratering economy is natural, experts say, while fears about job loss can serve as a trigger that causes many who are thriving in recovery to slip backward.
Addiction expert Jeffrey Reynolds, president and chief executive of the Mineola-based Family and Children’s Association, calls the coronavirus a -perfect storm” for the recovery community.
Steve Chassman, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, said the primary concern is for individuals in recovery or treatment who have become disengaged from their self-help routine and seek relief in a bottle or a needle.
Experts also expect a steep decline in new patients seeking treatment for substance abuse addictions.
-For people new to the recovery process you bring a heightened sense of fear and anxiety.
Residential drug treatment programs have transitioned from group sessions to more one-on-one meetings, experts said.
Treatment professionals say the coronavirus outbreak could not have come at a worse time, just as Long Island appears to have finally turned the corner on the opioid crisis.
But I think it will force a new way of delivering behavioral health .. . It’s a seismic shift for people in recovery. “
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