The opioid epidemic now exists alongside a pandemic. Most forms of substance use treatment are affected by COVID-19.
All addiction treatment is important. For someone receiving Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), continuing is even more crucial. Being forced to stop MAT suddenly can cause dangerous withdrawal.
Prevention Point, a Philadelphia non-profit in a neighborhood heavily impacted by the opioid crisis, has had to shutter their drop-in center and stop providing MAT. A great number of similar organizations have restricted services.
Lesly-Marie Buer, Research Director at an organization called Choice Health Network that provides harm reduction services, says: ““I think it will be likely that some people will be sent into forced withdrawal from some drugs because they won’t have access, which makes me nervous that people will take things they’re just not familiar with.”
The good news is that regulating organizations have been easing restrictions on MAT. The goal is to make it safer and more accessible during COVID-19.
In March, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) said states may request that people in treatment considered “stable” get a 28-day supply of medication. That same month, the DEA eased restrictions on physicians prescribing medications through telehealth.
Many people who use opioids may be immunocompromised or have chronic illness—putting them at greater risk for complications from COVID-19. These changes reduce the amount of potential exposure to COVID-19, while still allowing for treatment.
Caleb Banta-Green—a research scientist at the Alcohol and Drug Institute— thinks that before the pandemic, regulations seemed punitive to people suffering from Substance Use Disorders.
An unexpected silver lining of the crisis is that some people face less barriers to receiving the treatment they need.
If you are struggling with addiction to opioids, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers provides MAT (Suboxone and Vivitrol). We will gradually free you from opioids while providing comprehensive treatment to address the root causes of your addiction.
At our facilities across the country, we provide treatment for substance use and mental health disorders. We will help you build the tools to thrive in long-term recovery. Our centers are open throughout the crisis, using hospital-grade sanitization and offering telehealth options so that you can feel safe in our care. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.