The stress and social distancing protocols implemented by the COVID-19 pandemic have caused an increase in an unhealthy dependence on dangerous substances — including a resurgence of fatal opioid overdoses.
Drug abuse prevention experts believe the worst is yet to come.
Gary W. Blackard, president and CEO of Adult & Teen Challenge U.S.A., a department of Assemblies of God U.S. Missions, says multiple factors are involved in this year’s recorded hike in substance abuse and addiction problems.
“Anxiety, loneliness, personal loss, job loss, financial ruin, and an uncertain future are often precursors to both mental illness and substance abuse,” says Blackard, who is based in Ozark, Missouri. “The virus is creating the perfect storm for an already-vulnerable demographic.”