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Addiction centers see increase in calls amid coronavirus

25% jump in admissions at one location
Posted at 10:30 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 12:29:52-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Addiction hasn’t died off during this coronavirus outbreak, and South Florida rehab centers are bracing for a new blow.

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Addicts like Missy are concerned about the future. But for her, sobriety is always at stake.

"We get bored, and we look for things to keep busy, especially when we have all these thoughts running through our head,” said Missy, who is nine months clean.

Her addiction is to alcohol and cocaine.

The coronavirus outbreak has only fueled another crisis in Florida, the war against opioids.

During the first three months of this year, Recovery First treatment center in South Florida saw a 25 percent jump in admissions.

In March, as the first cases of the virus were identified in Florida, calls for help came pouring in.

The most common addiction was alcohol followed by cocaine and heroin.

"The use of drugs and alcohol is no longer for the effect but more so for the function to be normal, so a lot of people are turning to what makes them feel normal and,” said Chris Lynch, an addiction specialist with Recovery First.

Lynch said they have adapted and now doing online counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous classes on Zoom.

However, many agree what’s becoming clearer is the worst could be yet to come.

"I think there's going to be a surge of treatment needs, not only for the general population. I think we are going to be seeing a surge in our first responders, and I think we'll see a surge in our health care professionals,” said Denise O’Donnell, CEO of Recovery First.

Until then, it's wait and see.

For Missy, her focus is not so much on the pandemic but being a parent to her 9-year-old daughter. That’s the reason she fights to stay clean.

"I mean I have to do it for myself, but in the long run it's for her,” said Missy.