GRAND RAPIDS, Mi. — Spectrum Health says they are seeing a daily increase of 20-30% in new patients asking for help with substance abuse, ranging from alcohol to drug use. The uptick comes as national alcohol sales have spiked 55% across the country, according to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
"We know that one of the things that we're trying to do on purpose is we're trying to socially isolate, but social isolation is a known risk factor for substance use and substance use disorders. So as we socially isolate, we're at risk of using different coping mechanisms and sometimes we can use, less healthy coping mechanisms and that can include substance use," said Dr. Cara Poland, Medical Director of Addiction Medicine at Spectrum Health.
For women, drinking standards remain at 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 in a sitting. For men, drinking standards remain at 14 drinks per week and no more than 3 in a sitting.
Dr. Poland recommends staying in a routine, despite the fact that the pandemic has changed the look of daily life for many.
"So one of the things that we know might be helpful for individuals during this time is maintaining some form of a structure and whether that's setting an alarm in the morning to make sure you're getting up and having meals at regular intervals and sticking to a bit of a schedule can be very helpful during these times," said Dr. Poland. "Also we know that there is an immense amount of financial insecurity in our community and the lack of food security and knowing that there are resources out there to help with that and that we want to support our community and we want to be there for you."
For those struggling with drug use specifically, resources are also available.
"One thing that I hope people remember is that the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is the number of countries that are involved. So despite everything that is going on with the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s really important that we are still in an opioid epidemic and there are resources to help individuals that need that help."
If you would like to access resources through Spectrum Health, you can call their clinic at 616-391-6120. Clinics are located in both Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
For those under-insured or uninsured, Network 180 has an open door policy for treatment for those who cannot afford it otherwise.