Addiction

Coronavirus Crisis Disrupts Treatment For Another Epidemic: Addiction

Shawn Hayes was thankful to be holed up at a city-run hotel for people with COVID-19.

The 20-year-old wasn’t in jail. He wasn’t on the streets chasing drugs. Methadone to treat his opioid addiction was delivered to his door.

Hayes was staying at the hotel because of a coronavirus outbreak at the 270-bed Kirkbride Center addiction treatment center in Philadelphia, where he had been seeking help.

From early April to early May, 46 patients at Kirkbride tested positive for the virus and were isolated. The facility is now operating at about half-capacity because of the pandemic.

Drug rehabs around the country — including in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Florida — have experienced flare-ups of the coronavirus or COVID-related financial difficulties that have forced them to close or limit operations. Centers that serve the poor have been hit particularly hard.

And that has left people who have another potentially deadly

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Drinking Surged During The Pandemic. Do You Know The Signs Of Addiction?

Despite the lack of dine-in customers for nearly 2½ long months during the coronavirus shutdown, Darrell Loo of Waldo Thai stayed busy.

Loo is the bar manager for the popular restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, and he credits increased drinking and looser liquor laws during the pandemic for his brisk business. Alcohol also seemed to help his customers deal with all the uncertainty and fear.

“Drinking definitely was a way of coping with it,” said Loo. “People did drink a lot more when it happened. I, myself, did drink a lot more.”

Many state laws seemed to be waived overnight as stay-at-home orders were put into place, and drinkers embraced trends such as liquor delivery, virtual happy hours and online wine tasting. Curbside cocktails in 12- and 16-ounce bottles particularly helped Waldo Thai make up for its lost revenue from dine-in customers.

Retail alcohol sales jumped by 55% nationally during

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Pandemic Presents New Hurdles, And Hope, For People Struggling With Addiction

Before Philadelphia shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Ed had a routine: most mornings he would head to a nearby McDonald’s to brush his teeth, wash his face and — when he had the money — buy a cup of coffee. He would bounce between homeless shelters and try to get a shower. But since businesses closed and many shelters stopped taking new admissions, Ed has been mostly shut off from that routine.

He’s still living on the streets.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t really sleep too much,” said Ed, who’s 51 and struggling with addiction. “Every four or five days I get a couple hours.”

KHN agreed not to use his last name because he uses illegal drugs.

Philadelphia has the highest overdose rate of any big city in America — in 2019, more than three people a day died of drug overdoses there, on

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Vaping, Opioid Addiction Accelerate Coronavirus Risks, Says NIDA Director

In 2018, opioid overdoses claimed about 47,000 American lives. Last year, federal authorities reported that 5.4 million middle and high school students vaped. And just two months ago, about 2,800 cases of vaping-associated lung injuries resulted in hospitalizations; 68 people died.

Until mid-March, these numbers commanded attention. But as the coronavirus death toll climbs and the economic costs of attempting to control its spread wreak havoc, the public health focus is now dramatically different.

In the background, though, these other issues — the opioid epidemic and vaping crisis — persist in heaping complications on an overwhelmed public health system.

It is creating a distinctly American problem, said Dr. Nora Volkow, who heads the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Volkow spoke with Kaiser Health News about the emerging science around COVID-19’s relationship to vaping and to opioid use disorder, as well as how these underlying epidemics could increase people’s

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