The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents a difficult situation for millions of Americans. Many are struggling with isolation, general uncertainty and financial stress — not to mention the fear of catching coronavirus. These complex factors have caused mental health to decline across the nation, while rates of substance abuse have risen. There’s a greater need than ever for accessible mental health and addiction treatment. Fortunately, rehab facilities and community organizations throughout the country are up to the task. Many have taken steps to increase patient safety, increase accessibility and find ways to get Americans the help they need during the pandemic. COVID’s Impact on South Florida Mental Health and Substance Abuse Florida has been in the midst of an opioid epidemic for years, and COVID-19 is only worsening rates of substance abuse and addiction. A survey from The Recovery Village shows that 44% of South Florida residents reported an increase in past-month alcohol use, while 48% of residents who use drugs reported increasing their use. Additionally, 75% reported that COVID-19 had impacted their mental health, with 31% stating they used substances to cope with stress. Relapses and Drug Overdoses Increasing Among South Florida Residents The stress, isolation and fear surrounding the pandemic have caused many people in recovery to relapse. This is especially dangerous for people who have stopped using drugs and have lower tolerance; they may return to using the same amount of drugs as before and unintentionally overdose. In many cases, that’s exactly what has occurred: Overdose rates have increased by 46% in Orange County and 65% in Seminole County, while overdose deaths jumped 63% from January to June when compared to 2019. Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Must Continue Without access to recovery resources like medication-assisted treatment, support groups and harm-prevention services, long-term sobriety can be difficult. Many in-person options are no longer available, meaning people are missing much-needed support. Because of the stress stemming from the pandemic, there’s an even greater need for accessible treatment. However, treatment must also be safe to avoid transmitting coronavirus among patients. Safety Concerns Over Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Some people may be second-guessing the safety of attending treatment while a virus is rapidly spreading throughout the country. However, health and safety remain a top priority at The Recovery Village at Baptist Health. At each of our South Florida facilities, we have: Increased sanitation and cleaning protocols Introduced face mask policies Required health screenings for clients and staff Suspended visitations Restricted offsite travel We have also developed telehealth services to help new and existing clients. Our telehealth app connects people seeking addiction treatment to professional therapists and counselors, who can provide treatment without needing to meet at the facility. This allows people struggling with addiction to seek help anytime and anywhere. Our free-to-use, private online recovery chat rooms can help people who have been displaced from in-person support groups. Any recovery support groups can use this tool to gather together virtually and safely continue meeting. Choosing the Right South Florida Drug Treatment Facility If you’re looking for effective and safe treatment during the pandemic, The Recovery Village at Baptist Health is an option to consider. We offer a full continuum of care, delivered by a multidisciplinary team that can treat addiction as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders. Our services are also covered under many local and national health insurance plans. Whether you choose our rehab center or a different one, make sure your facility is adapting to the pandemic with improved safety protocols and virtual treatment options. Related: What to Consider When Choosing an Addiction Treatment Center If you’re ready to begin the path toward lifelong health and sobriety, The Recovery Village at Baptist Health is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well for your situation. SourcesFlorida Department of Children and Families. “Patterns and Trends of the Opioid Epidemic in Florida.” 2018. Accessed November 4, 2020. Di Gregorio, Renata. “Overdose calls up 40% during COVID-19 pandemic; treatment centers seeing relapses in long-time sober patients.” First Coast News, July 23, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. Santich, Kate. “COVID-19′s latest toll in Central Florida: Rising drug overdoses, mental health issues.” Orlando Sentinel, September 18, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.