Pandemic heightens the struggle with addiction: What can be done

Posted at 7:59 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 07:59:58-04

During the middle of the stay at home orders, liquor sales skyrocketed across the country. During one week back in March, statistics showed sales up 54% over the previous year, while online sales have also seen percentage increases in the triple digits.

Alcohol consumption outside the home has dropped – bars have been closed—but consumption at home has increased—a lot.

There are several factors that have likely contributed to this, but for people already struggling with substance abuse could feel like they have nowhere to turn during these times.

That’s why it was so important for providers to still find a way to offer help.

Dr. William Beecroft with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan says it's important to adapt to these times and work with providers to launch home-based substance use disorder treatments, allowing patients to undergo detox and treatment at home. They can do this by working with doctors, social workers, even conducting vital sign checks and offering virtual group therapy sessions.

Dr. Beecroft says that could change the status quo for substance use disorder treatment in the future. “With telemedicine services, even with opioids, we can now do the assessment over telemedicine services,” he says.

“We can start medically assisted treatment, we can get them into the partial hospital programming, do the detox even as an outpatient if we need to,” he said. “There are treatments available that can be very helpful. It is a chronic illness. It is not a personal weakness. It is a biologic problem just like diabetes. Just like heart disease, just like cancer, if you want to think about it that way because it will kill you if you don't get some help.”

To find out what kind of help your provider covers, you can always start by calling the number on the back of your medical insurance card.