The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of daily life for people around the world—from “normies” to people with substance use disorder and everyone in between. Unless you’re currently in rehab after previous stays, however (which more than a few people likely are), you probably don’t know that coronavirus has had serious effects on drug and alcohol treatment as well.
What’s rehab like during COVID-19?
It’s been widely reported that the coronavirus epidemic has resulted in a surge of alcohol consumption and drug overdoses, too. But for those that actually do make it into treatment, how is rehab during the COVID-19 outbreak different than it’s been before?
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction
Medication-assisted treatment is a controversial and evolving way of treating opioid addiction. Some providers don’t even offer it, and it can be hard to get set up even in the best of times.
However, on March 16, 2020, SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) released new Opioid Treatment guidelines that were meant to recognize and react to “the evolving issues surrounding COVID-19.”
SAMHSA announced that states could request up to fourteen days of take-home medication for patients who normally wouldn’t be considered stable enough to handle that responsibility. SAMHSA also said that states could request “a blanket exception” for all stable patients in a facility to receive 28 days of take-home doses for opioid treatment.
Those moves were criticized across the addiction treatment field. While they were surely aimed at helping clients get better during a difficult time, the new guidelines could be putting patients at risk. The drugs used to treat opioid use disorder are in and of themselves dangerous: buprenorphine or Suboxone, for example.
At the same time, the DEA announced that they would allow DEA-registered practitioners to issue prescriptions for Schedule II-V controlled substances to “patients for whom they have not conducted an in-person medical evaluation.”
Per the DEA, Schedule II-V drugs include cocaine, methadone, Oxycontin, Dilaudid, Dexedrine, codeine, Adderall, ketamine, Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Tramadol, and more.
Under the new regulations, people with substance use disorder can get a prescription for a dangerous drug without even meeting their doctor in person. At the same time, patients could easily attempt to score those drugs through a “telehealth” visit from the comfort of their own crash pad.
The California Medical Association confirmed that such treatment would be available in California on March 23.
Ultimately, pandemic or not, people will keep on getting addicted to drugs and alcohol and finding recovery in the same ways that they have for decades. At Transformations Care, we’ve helped dozens of people get clean and sober with a bullshit-free mix of tough love and treatment that works.
When this pandemic is over and the world’s back to “normal,” will you be a better version of yourself or a worse one? The choice is up to you.
Getting Clean & Sober at Home
Today, more than 75% of hospitals and healthcare providers offer access to telehealth treatment, with 29 states having gone so far as to enact telehealth parity laws, which force insurance companies to reimburse patients for telehealth at the same rates as they would for in-person treatment.
If you’ve been thinking about getting clean and sober, or if you’ve been wanting to work on and strengthen the recovery you already have, it’s never been easier to do it through telehealth.