As the Covid-19 pandemic changes life as we know it for the time being, it has created a drain on resources for substance abuse treatment in the Louisiana community.
Many drug and alcohol addiction outpatient facilities are struggling to keep open their doors. Staff is unable to come in. As schools close in the Louisiana area, daycare options for their children is becoming almost impossible. Knowing who has the virus is impossible with limited testing available. This creates a strain on admissions.
Residential Treatment Enrollment
The reality that many people seeking help have possibly contracted the virus has challenged admissions. Everyone needs to be screened. All guidelines regarding social distancing and sanitizing must be strictly adhered to. With people coming in and out of a treatment facility it presents challenges difficult to overcome.
Due to the rapid development and spread of Covid-19, many facilities in Louisiana have been forced to shut down their operations.
Every facility that is managing to adapt and stay open is saving lives.
Staying informed on where someone can still get help and check in to a facility is crucial.
Suboxone Prescriptions and MAT
Filling prescriptions can be an issue. For many in recovery, MAT (Medication- Assisted Treatment clinics are a lifeline. Medications such as Suboxone are vital to control cravings and continue to abstain. There may be shortages coming. Insurance companies have created waivers. In some cases, 30-day refill limits have been removed. Other obstacles, such as copays have been eased as well.
12 -Step meetings and peer support
Loneliness is a real problem. Social distancing can have a real toll on people struggling with addiction. They lean on group support and meetings. As these become harder and harder to organize, the support system struggles. It is important for group leaders to organize video conferences. All methods of technology should be used for groups to stay connected.
Pre-existing mental health conditions
For those with pre-existing mental health conditions, the stress can trigger symptoms. Anxiety, depression and other such conditions can worsen. Practice mindfulness techniques. Distract yourself with a book or a TV show. Set up chat groups to encourage each other. No one has to feel alone.
List of Available Resources for the Louisiana Substance Abuse Treatment Community
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration has a 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline, reachable at 1-800-985-5990. It also has an app with additional resources. Check their website.
- The Louisiana Department of Health has set up a 24-hour hotline. Professionals are available to help guide you through any possible stress you may be dealing with. See screenshot below.
Stressed about COVID-19? We’re here to talk.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, fear and anxiety about the uncertainty surrounding this public health emergency, there is a special Keeping Calm through COVID Hotline you can call. This connects you to trained, compassionate counselors who can offer support and who can direct you to mental health and substance abuse counseling services.
Call 1-866-310-7977 24/7
Trained counselors available 24/7. All calls are confidential.
Browse their website for all information available
- Stay informed of guidelines. There is a country-wide effort to “slow the curve”. We need our hospitals to be able to sustain the crush of patients.
Another helpful explainer is linked here.
- There are steps being taken in the insurance community to help ease the burden. Coronavirus testing is being made free in Louisiana and in the rest of the country. For those who need vital medications, refill limits are being raised and copays relaxed. Research what you or a loved one might be eligible for.
- For therapists and clinicians needing a safe video conference tool, a good option is
- . It is free, user-friendly and HIPPA compliant.
Tutorial linked here.
- Here at Townsend we are making all possible efforts to keep our doors open for outpatient treatment. Reach out to us. Let’s stick together and help each other.
Although the virus rages, the opioid epidemic hasn’t stopped. People’s lives are at risk and we can’t forget them in the shadow of Coronavirus.