These are trying times, especially if you’re dealing with a substance use disorder.
Not only are we still enmeshed in a global pandemic, but we’re also facing a potential worsening of alcohol and substance abuse disorder across the nation. The stress and anxiety piled on by coronavirus and all its ramifications are triggering many people recovering from drug or alcohol abuse to relapse.
This is not a situation to sweep under the carpet. Almost 70,000 US citizens die every year from a drug overdose. Nearly 70% of these deaths involve prescription opioids. In 2018, 2,327 people died in Ohio alone after overdosing on opioids.
If you or a loved one needs to detox from alcohol or drugs, don’t allow the pandemic to dissuade you from seeking treatment. Every effort is being made to ensure the right help is available nationwide. That said, we need to stem this rate of death by overdose.
Most people in recovery attend an intensive outpatient program. When substance abuse disorder is more severe, a residential rehab program can more effectively shield the person in recovery from environmental relapse triggers.
Now, you might be anxious about staying at a residential facility due to coronavirus. Although understandable, you should not let these concerns stop you from seeking treatment.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine is working hard to keep addiction treatment available. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed strict transmission-based precautions. We’ll explore some of the clinical guidelines drawn up to safeguard you while still permitting you to proceed with rehab…
CLINICAL GUIDELINES TO PROTECT YOU
For your peace of mind, the American Society of Addiction Medicine created the CPDC Task Force.
The ASAM Caring for Patients During the COVID-19 Task Force is a panel of top medical and infection control experts. The core responsibility of CPDC is developing clinical guidelines for inpatient treatment centers across the US.
The task force anticipates three phases of the pandemic – the early phase, peak transmission, and post-pandemic.
Clinical guidelines vary across states. The infection control guidelines in place at your treatment center will depend on the infection rate in your state.
EARLY PHASE GUIDELINES
During the early phase, there are low rates of infection. At this stage, treatment centers will maximize your safety from the virus by:
- Following screening protocols
- Promoting and maintaining social distancing in all areas
- Adopting enhanced sanitation in all areas
- Using telemedicine whenever possible
- Ensuring there is a quarantine area for inpatients who test positive for COVID-19
- Providing PPE for all healthcare staff
PEAK TRANSMISSION GUIDELINES
The ASAM task force anticipates that the transmission of COVID-19 is yet to reach peak levels. If you require inpatient residential treatment during this phase, don’t be put off. There are contingency plans in place to keep you safe.
The task force proposes that all treatment centers work together in the event of high transmission rates. If you test positive for COVID-19, you might be placed in a treatment center, or in community housing with other infectious patients.
During your residential stay, expect online consultations with medical staff via teleconferencing software. This can benefit you during your treatment program as staff are more accessible when you need them. This remote consultation also keeps medical staff safe.
You will receive aftercare via telemedicine following your residential stay to limit physical contact with healthcare staff. Cognitive behavioral therapy and consultations with your physician are just as effective via telemedicine.
If you need a physical examination, there’s no way around a face-to-face appointment.
If you are homeless and attending a treatment center as an outpatient or partial inpatient, accommodation is provided. Part of the task force strategy during the unfolding pandemic is to ensure no one is at increased risk of transmitting or contracting the virus.
It’s vital to cooperate with the personal hygiene and physical distancing protocols in any accommodation provided.
ATTENDING THE TREATMENT CENTER
When you attend the treatment center, you will need to wear a mask as advised by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. This applies even if you present no symptoms of COVID-19.
When you arrive at the treatment center, expect to be tested for COVID-19 symptoms such as high temperature, sore throat, and shortness of breath before entering the building. You will be continuously monitored for symptoms for the duration of your stay.
If you show any coronavirus symptoms, you will need to stay in a separate examination room with the door closed. If transmission rates are especially high in your community, you might be asked to attend a designated facility for people displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Don’t view this negatively. Precautions like this could help stem the spread.
While at the treatment center, implement impeccable hand hygiene at all times. Always cough or sneeze into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow if you don’t have one.
You need to stay in a room 6 feet apart from others when waiting for any examination. If you have any contact with healthcare staff, they will wear PPE if available.
If tests are available, you could be tested for COVID 19 upon arrival. This entails a clinician taking a sample from your nasal passage or throat using a swab.
IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19…
If you test positive for COVID 19, you will be quarantined, ideally in a private, ensuite room. You will remain isolated in this room for the duration of treatment to prevent cross-infection.
While not ideal to be socially isolated as you detox from drugs or alcohol, at least you will receive the treatment you need to get clean and start living a healthy productive life.
If you exhibit coronavirus symptoms, you will probably feel sick enough that withdrawal symptoms could be worsened. Treatment staff will be available around-the-clock, though. You can also access emotional support at any time using telehealth services.
Please be reassured that disinfection and cleaning standards have been considerably ramped up in all treatment centers across the US.
The CDC’s transmission-based precautions advise that:
- Surfaces are doused with water before disinfectant is applied
- Eating utensils are properly managed and sterilized
- Medical equipment is cleaned and sterilized
- Disposable PPE is incinerated after use
A CLOSING REASSURANCE…
If you’re hesitant about seeking help or attending a treatment center for your addiction right now, this is fully understandable. Hopefully, today’s showcase of addiction rehab during COVID-19 should show you there’s nothing to worry about.
Treatment centers are taking their responsibility in limiting the spread of the virus seriously. Physical distancing, strict hygiene standards, the use of PPE, and strategic infection control procedures are in place to enhance your safety during detox.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Don’t let the current pandemic situation thwart your attempts to get clean. Many people are succeeding in their recovery from drugs and alcohol despite the complications of COVID-19.
If you need help right away, our friendly team at Landmark Recovery can get you back on track. Whether you need residential treatment or an intensive outpatient program, call us today at 888-448-0302.
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