With more than one million people infected with the coronavirus around the world, the likelihood of social distancing and sheltering in place protocols going away soon is unlikely. The United States continues to see exponential growth in new cases of COVID-19, and the death toll continues to rise.
As of today, April 3rd, 2020, 245,658 men and women have tested positive, and 6,069 individuals have lost their life. Please continue following coronavirus guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to safeguard your well-being. Working a program right now is challenging enough; it will be even more difficult if you contract COVID-19.
People in recovery have had to maintain their programs via the internet of late. Attending 12 Step meetings in the virtual world is now the new normal. It’s nearly impossible to predict how much longer people will have to maintain their recovery in isolation.
We hope that you are continuing to focus on the needs of your sobriety by calling your sponsor and your support network peers each day. For now, sustained recovery depends on the utilization of smartphones and computers. It’s a novel experience to go to an AA meeting from the comfort of home.
While everyone’s primary focus is understandably on the pandemic, it’s worth mentioning that millions of people continue to struggle with alcohol and substance use disorders. Even though many addiction treatment centers are still accepting patients, a good number of men and women who want help are having trouble finding support. With that in mind, there is a push for providing treatment and therapeutic services telephonically.
Addiction Treatment Over the Phone
Millions of Americans live in rural corners of the United States. Of those who are struggling with addiction, accessing treatment is challenging. Many rural Americans can benefit from telehealth treatment services, PBS NewsHour reports. Research shows that an effective method of expanding access to treatment in rural America is implementing the use of telehealth, according to The International Journal of Drug Policy.
Dr. Haiden Huskamp, a professor of health care policy at the Harvard Medical School, says that more needs to be done to help people utilize telehealth for addiction treatment. Along with Uscher-Pines of RAND, she has researched the use of telemedicine for the treatment of opioid and substance use disorder. Her research showed that the number of telemedicine visits for substance use disorder increased from 97 to 1,989 between 2010 and 2017. However, the number of telemental health visits rose from 2,039 to 54,175 during that same period.
“These low rates of use really are a missed opportunity because it’s being used for other types of care and very effectively,” said Dr. Huskamp.
Uscher-Pines concurred with the health care policy expert, telehealth for substance use disorder needs to increase. In the midst of a pandemic, encouraging more Americans to turn to teleaddiction treatment could be extremely beneficial.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis began, a program called Project ECHO was already working on getting more doctors trained in the use of telehealth, the article reports. Project ECHO links rural providers to central medical centers for two-hour virtual training sessions once a week. Dr. Sanjeev Arora founded the program in 2003 to expand access to treatment and saving lives.
“I wanted to exponentially improve the capacity to deliver best practice care,” said Dr. Arora.
Evidence-Based Treatment in Southern California
Hope By The Sea offers evidence-based addiction treatment services in San Juan Capistrano, CA. If you require assistance with alcohol, substance, or co-occurring disorder, then please contact us today to learn more about our program. Hope Starts Here!
At Hope By The Sea, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of COVID-19 victims. We hope that those who have contracted the virus make speedy recoveries.