Necessity: Substance abuse fight requires adaptation

Lest we forget, during this pandemic that has so dramatically changed our lives, there is another crisis affecting too many around us. It is a crisis that has been playing out for many years, and certainly did not disappear just because a new one took the spotlight.

COVID-19 may have changed the way we talk about the substance abuse crisis, and the way we tackle it, but it has not made the problem go away.

“Certainly it’s having an impact,” said John Leite, director of the Substance Use Disorder Collaborative. “(We’re) seeing an increase in overdoses. You can’t always say it’s in direct relation to this but you can say it’s playing a role.”

As always, the folks on the front lines have adapted. Tele-health visits have replaced in-person mental health and recovery sessions. Virtual meetings and other online engagement are providing some support for those trying to rebuilt their lives amid unprecedented change.

But there is more work to do. Kudos to those organizing collaborative efforts to share best practices on everything from workforce development and transportation efforts to virtual psychological services.

The battle against the substance abuse epidemic continues. The men and women fighting it for us are learning along with the rest of us how to do their jobs in the “new normal.” For that, we are grateful.


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