‘There was nothing to help me’: how the pandemic has worsened opioid addiction

 Destiny Rozek, 22, of Holbrook, New York on Long Island has struggled with opioid addiction for the past four years, a struggle she said has worsened during America's coronavirus pandemic.

Rozek explained that several detox facilities have closed and coronavirus safety protocols have limited the assistance several other facilities once provided. She went to a detox facility several weeks ago, but was discharged after a couple of nights because they needed space in the ward.

"There was no therapy or anything to help me. They didn't even help me find an outside place to go to after and I was still sick when they let me out but they needed space because it was busy," Rozek said. 

Many addiction treatment centers around the US have shut down or turned away patients because of the pandemic, as they struggle with financial losses and adhering to safety protocols. Rozek is currently in an outpatient program, but complained she was only given medicine to try to detox at home and in person support groups aren't currently available.

"I'm genuinely trying but it feels like I'm stuck, and so do a lot of the other addicts I know," Rozek added.

Mass layoffs, furloughs, isolation, and cuts to resources for recovering addicts have been cited as contributing factors to reported rises in opioid use and overdoses during the pandemic.

Based on data from the Overdose detection mapping application program, opioid overdoses increased in March 2020 by 18% compared to the same month in 2019, 29% in April 2020, and 42% in May 2020. According to the American Medical Association, over 40 states have reported

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