Before the COVID-19 Crisis our community in Ohio had already spent years battling an addiction crisis and unfortunately we have never seen a public response like we are currently seeing for the Coronavirus. As COVID-19 meets our existing crisis there are compounding impacts on those struggling with addiction or those at risk of addiction because of unemployment, isolation, and disconnection.
Some great articles have been published by organizations like Statterproof and CNN about the effects COVID-19 is going to have on the addiction crisis and most call for systematic change, yet in the mainstream media, there is little coverage on what is happening to people struggling with addiction and those in recovery. Relink.org wants to do what we can to get the word out there about the impacts COVID-19 is having on recovery, the incredible work that is being done on the front lines, and any other resources or information we can share.
Our first story from the front lines this week comes from one of our partners, Hope Over Heroin. Hope Over Heroin works with churches and others across the state to help those in addiction through events, education, and memorials, as well as their One Call service offering over the phone peer support, case management, and resource referrals.
They were recently working with a client in need of residential treatment and many places they called were either not taking new clients because of the virus or had a wait list of a couple weeks. Now they fear they have lost touch with the client because of this limited information and resources available. The window of time when someone is willing to receive treatment is often very small, so this additional wait time could pose a huge risk for increased relapses or overdoses.
While the virus is bringing about new challenges, it is encouraging ingenuity and collaboration. There are some great new resources out there to access treatment and support online or over the phone. Unfortunately, the resources available are changing so rapidly that there is a lot of confusion and disconnection. It is hard to know what organizations are open, at what capacity, and if they are offering new services like telehealth without spending a lot of time calling around like Hope Over Heroin did.
relink.org wants to work to solve this problem by providing a centralized platform to access all the information about resources across the state. That way, groups like Hope Over Heroin can find what they need before the window of willingness closes. If you are a service provider, please login at https://portal.relink.org today to add or update your information. If you are providing telehealth services, please indicate it in your organization’s description as we do not have a service category for it yet.
If you have any stories of how COVID-19 is impacting recovery…
This will help us continue to build awareness about these impacts and see how we can help! Those in need can access Hope Over Heroin’s services by calling them at: (844) 467-3777.
About the Author
Bethany Friedrichsen is the Statewide Coordinator for relink.org. She has a background in psychology and has been working for the past three years in the addiction recovery and reentry space to create connection for people in need to the caring resources in their community.