One in five people struggling with addiction have increased their substance use since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a new survey.
The Addiction Policy Forum polled 1,079 substance use disorder patients and their families from April 27-May 8 and found that 34% reported changes in their treatment or recovery support, and 14% said they had been unable to access needed services. Most troubling, 3% reported a nonfatal overdose, and 1% reported a fatal overdose.
The survey follows other recent studies finding an increase of substance abuse during the pandemic. A survey by American Addiction Centers found 1 in 3 people were more likely to drink alcohol during work hours while in lockdown. Drug overdoses rose 16.6% from January to April when compared to the previous year, according to a National Office of National Drug Control Policy analysis.
The pandemic would seem to be a prime catalyst for an increase in substance abuse. Recessions are often associated with increases in substance abuse, and the U.S. economy has shed 20.5 million jobs between February and April.
Adding to the problem is the isolation caused by the lockdown and social distancing. Support groups are crucial for recovering addicts. The Addiction Policy Forum survey found that 42% reported loneliness as one of the top emotions they have experienced since the pandemic began.