DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Substance abuse during the holidays and pandemic


Kevin Barber is aware of the struggles of substance abuse.

“I obtained caught up within the late 90s with the entire oxycodone epidemic when that first got here out. I then transitioned into tougher medicine. I transitioned into heroin use and abused for quite a lot of years after which went by remedy and obtained clear. It’s been 15 years now.”

Barber makes use of his previous battle with substance abuse to assist others now, saying “remedy was the massive motivating issue for me doing what I do professionally now.” He’s now the Division Director for Residential Providers at Gaudenzia, Inc.

Many individuals throughout the nation individuals use medicine and alcohol to quickly masks the stress of the vacations. The results of utilizing medicine and alcohol is commonly dependancy. Habit can then result in better issues, together with overdose and even loss of life.

“84 p.c of individuals interviewed in a current survey stated that they had been reasonably to overwhelmingly careworn in the course of the holidays, and 29 p.c admitted to consuming extra in the course of the holidays,” says Jason Kisielewski, Group Affairs Supervisor at Gaudenzia Erie, Inc. 

Kisielewski additionally says the holidays are a time the place they naturally see a rise in calls for Gaudenzia’s  packages and providers.  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the most dangerous times of the year for drug-and-alcohol related deaths are December, January and March, and practically 91,000 deaths have been reported for the month of December since 1999. 

Paramedics discover the spike too across the holidays not solely in substance abuse calls, however additionally psychological well being calls. 

“One main concern that we do have in the course of the holidays just isn’t solely substance abuse but in addition psychological well being consciousness. We do see an uptick in behavioral well being and psychological well being consciousness calls usually across the holidays,” says David Basnak, Operations supervisor at EmergyCare. 

The severity of the wrestle is seen particularly by proof of the opioid epidemic that our nation nonetheless presently faces. 

Barber says, “probably the most frequent factor that we see admissions into remedy for is opioid use, primarily heroin. We’re additionally seeing a giant uptick in methamphetamine proper now.” 

Supply: Heart for Illness Management 

This 12 months, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is including to the stress inflicting alcohol misuse and opioid epidemic to intensify. Nationwide, the pandemic is causing greater concern for substance misuse and restoration.  

 “One factor that’s typically neglected is that our shoppers are primarily going through two pandemics directly: we’re nonetheless within the midst of the most important heroin and opioid epidemic to ever hit this nation, and now, they’re additionally battling the coronavirus pandemic,” says Kisielewski. 

Though COVID is a contributing factor to substance use, paramedics in our Erie space surprisingly haven’t seen a lot of an uptick of calls because the begin. Nonetheless, it’s vital to note that this doesn’t imply that there hasn’t been an uptick.  

 Basnak says, “we’re on monitor with what we’ve seen in 2019, so we haven’t seen an enormous spike like among the different areas have seen. However I might additionally warning individuals to recollect that doesn’t essentially imply that substance abuse isn’t on the market, and that there’s not an uptick of it. It simply signifies that we aren’t seeing it, so we aren’t responding to it. “ 

If you or somebody  is going through substance abuse with medicine and alcohol, assist is accessible. 

Barber says, “the different is overdose or loss of life, it sounds actually grim to say it that means however that’s the truth” 

Supply: Heart for Illness Management

There are many shops of assist accessible and remedy facilities in Erie for individuals battling dependancy. 

“Assist is accessible on all ranges of care whether or not its residential, detox, outpatient remedy,” says Barber. 

Individuals struggling may also name the 24/7  SAMSHA Nationwide Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)


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