Pandemic is disrupting addiction treatment

Drug rehabilitation and addiction treatment centers around the country have been forced to close or limit operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left people without treatment options and may reverse strides made in recovery, according to Kaiser Health News.

Drug rehab centers, like nursing homes, are places where social distancing is difficult, since double-occupancy bedrooms and group therapy is common in these centers, Caleb Alexander, MD, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Kaiser Health News.

Though rehab and addiction treatment centers have instituted such safety measures as testing people for COVID-19 when they arrive for care, many people are reluctant to seek care at these centers. Marvin Ventrell, CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers told Kaiser Health News, that many of its approximately 1,000 members saw their patient numbers decline as much as 50 percent in March and April.

Centers serving the poor and homeless have been hit particularly hard, Kaiser Health News reports. The Salvation Army closed several of its adult rehabilitation centers across the country due to revenue losses related to the coronavirus crisis. The charity's resale stores fund the rehab facilities, and once those took a hit, the effects were felt by the rehab centers.

Another facility, Kirkbride Center in Philadelphia, which also serves the homeless and low-income populations, is operating near half capacity, has stopped taking walk-ins and places new patients in single rooms, Fred Baurer, MD, the facility's medical director, told Kaiser Health News.


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