ORLANDO, Fla. – The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in an elevated concern by leaders working to fight one other disaster: the opioid epidemic.
Jaime Bridges, LCSW, is the Opioid Outreach Coordinator at Orlando Well being, ORMC. She brings private expertise to her place, working with overdose sufferers contained in the hospital.
“I used to be hooked on ache drugs, I used to be additionally a cop for a very long time, and so I’m very actual with my sufferers, I don’t have to cover something,” Bridges stated.
Bridges stated the present well being disaster, with rising COVID-19 circumstances, has result in extra relapses within the sufferers she sees.
“I’ve seen numerous variety of folks are available in and say, you already know, ‘I used to be doing nice, and I misplaced my job,’ and 3-4 months into COVID, they did relapse,” Bridges stated.
In some circumstances, Bridges stated, the sufferers had been in restoration for 4 or 5 years earlier than their latest relapse.
In response to the Florida Division of Well being, as cited in statistics reported by Project Opioid, the state has skilled an almost 50% enhance in opioid-related deaths because the similar time in 2019. Greater than 3,606 deaths had been reported from March to August of 2020.
Bridges stated packages just like the one she began with Orlando Well being have needed to adapt to satisfy the wants of sufferers in want of rehabilitation.
“A number of substance use restoration has to do with one-on-one counseling, has to do with group remedy, and due to COVID, these issues had been shut down,” she stated.
Bridges’ program distributed over 200 Narcan kits to sufferers leaving ORMC after an overdose, together with assets to take residence.
“On the finish of the day, [it’s about] reminding an individual that struggles with any form of substance use that they don’t seem to be weak and it isn’t an indication of their failure, and to me, that’s actually necessary and actually highly effective,” Bridges stated.
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