What COVID-19 Should Not Take

By: Melinda Swan

COVID-19 has taken a lot from us, slamming the U.S. with tsunami-level force winds since last March.

Some say it put a chokehold on freedom, masking and denying us the ability to exercise our personal rights and shutting down our free market economy. Others point to lost jobs, businesses and, worst of all, people we love.

Our mortality rates, health care systems, fiscal stability and psychological well-being have been kidnapped by a pandemic with a ransom that exceeds billions of dollars and priceless lives. We may not know the full cost for decades to come as children of COVID -19 live out the lasting legacy of virtual learning, isolation and seemingly constant anxiety. We have to wait on Chapter Next to see what all of this will do to our children’s long-term emotional and behavioral health.

Some sacrifices seem right, or at least necessary. We can forego big family Thanksgiving dinners, large wedding receptions, mass audience concerts and tightly-packed church pews. But, somewhere there has to a line drawn, a clear delineation of what we should never voluntarily relinquish to any pandemic or crisis.

And within that line, inside a bubble never to be breached, lies recovery from addiction.

Much has been written, including by me, of the second epidemic hiding under the elongated shadows cast by COVID-19. Mental illness and substance abuse disorders, triggered by isolation and anxiety and exacerbated by challenges in seeking peer support or treatment, threaten to overwhelm our families and systems key to a functional community. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from an addiction disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That’s more than the entire populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix—America’s five largest cities.

Other research tells us that, for every one person who lives with a substance abuse disorder, up to ten other people’s lives also are impacted, and often tragically, by the disease. In case you’re counting, that’s upwards of 200 million people, and likely more than half of the entire U.S. population, who are touched by this disorder.

Last year, 72,000 died from drug overdose—an all-time high and low simultaneously. But 2020, may surpass this ominous record as well, with a 13% higher death toll by June. Our state’s situation was even more dire. Harm Reduction Ohio estimated a nearly 30% increase based upon data from the first six months of the year.

It cannot be repeated enough. Addiction may not be as rapid as a virus in sapping our health. We may never find a vaccine or indeed anything that can prevent its onset. But, just like COVID-19, we need to do everything we can to prevent and treat it—quickly and thoroughly. Like every chronic illness, it requires daily vigilance to avoid relapse and to halt its inexorable debilitating impact on body, mind and soul.

Even in the midst of a nightmarish rise in pandemic cases, you can still get help, safely, confidentially and immediately. Call Maryhaven now at 614-445-8131 (or 614-324-5425 for gambling). They’ve created a whole new system to ensure you can start a treatment path best suited to your needs right away.

Don’t give your life or your sobriety to COVID-19.

About the Author

Melinda Swan

Melinda Swan is a blogger for Maryhaven. She has worked closely with the experts at Maryhaven since the launch of One More Chance in 2015.

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