Battling substance use disorder in South Carolina during the coronavirus pandemic

Battling substance use disorder in South Carolina during the coronavirus pandemic

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Bobby Brazell helps people struggling with substance use disorder transition from treatment to long-term recovery.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he is facing some serious challenges. "It's a scary time for somebody considering going into recovery," he said.

Brazell is the Executive Director of Midlands Recovery Center. He and his staff have had to adjust because of social distancing. They are connecting with people solely over the phone, on FaceTime, using Zoom video calls and Facebook Lives. According to Brazell, it has made things very difficult.

"They're leaning on us for more support than normal," Brazell said.

Director Sara Goldsby with the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) said at the state agency they are very worried about the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on South Carolinians with substance use disorder.

She said, "We are deeply concerned about a set back in our fight against substance use disorder in our current circumstances."

According to DAODAS, the need for self-quarantining and social isolation can be accompanied with:

  • anxiety, worry or fear related to an individual’s, or a loved one’s, health status
  • loneliness associated with feeling cut off from the world and loved ones
  • boredom and frustration because an individual might not be able to engage in day-to-day activities
  • a desire to use alcohol or other drugs to cope
  • symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping too much or too little
  • symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Goldsby said there is an increased overdose risk for people struggling with substance use disorder right now. She also said over the last few weeks they have shipped out about 7,000 boxes of Narcan -- an opioid overdose reversal drug -- to their community distributors.

Brazell said it's important to reach out and connect with your friends and family during this tough time. He said nothing can replace that in-person interaction, however.

"That face to face is very important. I think we are probably going to see some loss throughout this whole thing. That's the scary thing," he said.

Goldsby said there is still help and hope out there. "We are really all in this together," she said.

According to DAODAS, there are treatment services available in South Carolina through DAODAS’ system of state-licensed and nationally accredited service providers. For information on how to access treatment in the state, call 803-896-5555 or visit their website.

For more information on Midlands Recovery Center and their services, click here.

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