Addiction Treatment & The Coronavirus
The world today is being turned upside down with fear over the coronavirus. Certainly, this is a serious situation. However, while many are preparing for the worst such as closing schools and postponing sporting events, let’s not forget the many who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. These individuals are full of fear to begin with, and the added threat of this virus is making their fears worse.
But even something like the coronavirus can’t stop the chaos of addiction. Addicts and their loved ones may be asking is it safe to go to treatment now?
More than ever the answer is YES!
An addict, in the throes of their addiction, will continue to go out and find their high no matter the risk – with no social distancing, no fear of sharing bottles or needles. Worse, with this virus, they may unknowingly expose themselves to it in these already high-risk environments and bring it home to their family and friends. This is how powerful addiction is. Drug addicts and alcoholics in active addiction are ideal candidates to become carriers of this virus because of the environments they expose themselves to.
The government is recommending that people not gather in groups of 500 or more or, in some states, 250 or more. Most treatment centers do not have 250 people in them. Our treatment business, for example, has approximately 60 to 70 clients in it across two centers at any given time.
Protecting staff and clients
We have a robust policy and procedures to protect staff and clients from the coronavirus. Everything is continuously cleaned and disinfected. The medical and clinical teams are constantly monitoring the client community for anyone with signs and symptoms of potential infection. Should any staff member or client exhibit any signs or symptoms, there are processes and procedures in place to ensure that proper action is taken immediately. Thankfully, no one in our facilities has exhibited any such symptoms.
Well run addiction treatment centers follow industry regulations very carefully and are kept extremely clean at all times. These centers ensure that clients keep their personal hygiene up to par at all times. This is in total contradiction to the environments that people in active addiction typically find themselves such as crack houses and dirty bars.
People in active addiction often have extremely poor hygiene. We know that preventing the spread of this virus involves keeping one’s environment clean and personal hygiene impeccable.
Does this mean that a person will not be exposed to the virus in a treatment center? Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. The world is learning more about this virus every day. That said, it comes down to a choice. What environment is more conducive to recovery for the suffering addict and to not being infected with the coronavirus – a filthy crack house or a well-run treatment center? I think the answer is quite obvious.