Stress related to the pandemic has accelerated my substance use. How can I find the support I need?

Mental Health

A: As we’ve discussed in past posts, the pandemic and other stressful current events have taken a toll on many people’s mental health.

For some folks, this can exacerbate substance use issues. It can be really scary to feel like you don’t have control over your substance use, but there are places you can find help and support.

1/ Many people have struggled with the lack of in-person groups. Thankfully, many groups have switched to virtual and are still meeting.

SMART recovery (am alternative to traditional 12-step) is offering online groups.

If you prefer a harm reduction group (not abstinence based), you can find a schedule of open meetings, as well as other information about these groups, here.

If you are looking for an AA or NA meeting, you can find links here.

2/ If you’re looking for a therapist, many are offering teletherapy—a safe, convenient, easy way to meet with a therapist—no mask required! You can use the Psychology Today website to find a therapist.

3/ If you’re interested in medications for opioid use disorder, new regulations have allowed clinicians to prescribe buprenorphine using telehealth (no in-person visits needed!) This is an amazing policy change that allows people to access treatment discreetly and conveniently. You can use this SAMHSA practitioner locator to find a clinician near you.

4/ If you have a primary care provider (PCP), they may be able to help as well. Many can provide treatment for substance use themselves, or refer to trusted resources.

5/ If you or someone you love uses opioids, its very important to have naloxone (called Narcan in its nasal spray form) on hand. Unfortunately, overdose rates have increased in many places during the pandemic. In some states you can get Narcan at a pharmacy without a prescription, or you can ask your PCP. If you are unable to access it either of these ways, you can request it for free through the mail.

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