Canaan, CT – Anyone who consumes the news long enough
will see the same message: hospitals are overrun, but essential healthcare workers continue
to put the lives of others in front of their own needs, despite the threat of
COVID-19. This World Health Day, held annually on April 7th, Mountainside
treatment center joins the World
Health Organization in issuing a special thanks to doctors, nurses, and
healthcare specialists around the world who provide comfort and safety to those
suffering from coronavirus and other devastating illnesses.
In the midst of a global pandemic, the lifesaving care
issued by essential workers is on full display. Emergency rooms across the
nation are overwhelmed, and medical providers are working around the clock to
save as many lives as possible while facing the acute possibility that they may
contract the virus themselves.
With massive amounts of resources being allocated to fight
coronavirus, hospitals across the nation are straining to meet the needs of patients
struggling with other ailments, including addiction. Reports indicate that many
recovery centers and detox programs are closing or limiting services during
this time in an effort to “flatten the curve,” leaving many without critical
supports. All New York City hospitals, for example, have closed
their detox units. This is a discouraging development for addicted
individuals, as detox is the first stage of recovery for many.
There are multiple reasons this
is a vulnerable time for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. First,
this population is more at risk for suffering from COVID-19, a virus known to
cause – or in the case of those who consume nicotine or opioids, aggravate –
respiratory issues. Aside from the medical risk factors, those battling
addiction face an increased likelihood of relapse during this time of social
distancing. Because connecting with others is a cornerstone of addiction
recovery, stress and isolation may prompt many to start drinking or using drugs
again. Additionally, others previously interested in pursuing treatment may now
attempt to detox at home, on their own – a potentially fatal move for those
addicted to alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines such as Xanax, which are all associated
with dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
In light of these conditions, Mountainside recognizes the
critical importance of continuing to provide care for this high-risk population.
Its dedicated team of medical and clinical treatment professionals continue to
welcome clients into the treatment center’s Detox and Residential programs, with
added precautions. Sanitation measures have been strengthened throughout the
facilities, essential employees wear protective gear, there are daily
temperature checks for staff and clients, and new clients are assessed for
COVID-19 prior to being admitted to the facility.
“The impact of coronavirus in
exacerbating the opioid crisis and addiction cannot be overstated, and we remain
committed to supporting the recovery community during this time,” says Ashley
McGee, Director of Nursing at Mountainside. “Our detox unit is still an optimal
space for healing, removing clients from the stress of the outside world and
allowing them to receive the professional help that they need to effectively
start to heal. We are especially grateful to the dedicated professionals on the
front lines who make this possible, providing much-needed hope and care.”