Substance abuse programs leaders: Fewer addicts are seeking help during pandemic

Leaders of substance abuse programs and facilities are concerned as they say fewer people with addictions are reaching out for help during the pandemic.
Eva's Village Inc. on Spring Street in Paterson provides outpatient treatment for substance abuse problems along with a men's, women's and children's halfway house, and connections to detox.
Leaders at the facility say their services are important as opioid overdoses have been on the rise during the pandemic.
They say since they reopened their doors on July 15, their referral numbers are down 75% and treatment numbers for 2020 are 10 to 30% of what they were around this time last year. They are attributing the numbers to the pandemic.
They attribute the percentage to many of their referrals coming from the state, courts, and criminal justice programs, many of whom are not working in the office. Additionally, many clients do not have internet and phones while some are using virtual programs in lieu of personal treatment.
"Right now, we're standing in a room where there should be a group going. It's dishertening," says the Village's Michael E. Rivera. "To hear that the deaths have been up, everybody knows, the pandemic clobbered us. Isolation is the worst thing you can do somebody suffering from addiction."
Directors at Eva's Village say a phone or a computer is not required as walk-in services are welcomed. They say they are taking coronavirus precautions by providing free masks, hand sanitizer along with limiting numbers and disinfecting rooms following sessions.