Local detox center working to meet increased demand of alcohol and drug abuse since pandemic began

Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Riverside Behavioral Health Center is revamping their drug and alcohol treatment program to meet the increased community need. Officials say they’re pretty sure they know what’s causing the problem.

It’s no secret Americans are drinking a lot more than they used to. Market data shows alcohol sales are up at least 24% since the pandemic began. Substance abuse is also up.

Medical leaders at Riverside Behavioral Health Center increased their services to meet the increased local need. They recently revitalized their community-based detox and substance abuse treatment program to focus on the crucial first steps to long-term recovery.

“The goal is for people to come in here, receive their initial stabilization where we will help manage their withdrawal and then connect them to the next level of care,” explained Stacey Johnson, the executive director of Riverside Behavioral Health Center. “So our process is to really stabilize during the acute withdrawal process. It really helps folks on the path to recovery.”

Experts say a big underlying cause to the anxiety and depression is the increased isolation.

“We are social beings, so really working to differentiate between social distancing and social isolation. They are two different things,” said Johnson. “We’re seeing increased anxiety and depression. Particularly with the prolonged process of COVID. So I think folks are able to manage things for a short period of time, but when we get into this being three, six months it really starts to impact folks at a higher level.”

The pandemic is also causing people to delay seeking treatment. So when they do reach out to the center, they’re in worse shape than they otherwise would be.

The program is completely voluntary. Admission screeners are available 24 hours a day. Anyone who has questions or wants information can reach admissions for the center at 757-827-3119. If it’s a medical emergency, call 911.


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