Opioid Epidemic and Substance use Disorders Remain During COVID-19 Pandemic

Opioid Epidemic and Substance use Disorders Remain During COVID-19 Pandemic
Chester County continues support with virtual naloxone training, treatment and recovery support services

WEST CHESTER, PA — Recognizing the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have on the Chester County community, the County’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Services reminds residents that the opioid and overdose crisis, along with other substance use disorders, remain extremely prevalent, and can be worsened by the pandemic.

Changes to the traditional ways of providing training, treatment, and recovery support services have been made over the past three months to allow for services to continue, but in a virtual format.

Efforts to continue combatting accidental overdose include a free virtual Naloxone training event, being held on Wednesday, June 17th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. The Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services has partnered with the Chester County Hospital, Good Fellowship EMS & Training Institute and Kacie’s Cause to host this event, and all registered participants will receive a dose of naloxone at no charge. Registration is required at https://bit.ly/3dzNcuH.

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As the community navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services also notes that individuals who had drug or alcohol problems prior to the pandemic will continue to have those problems unless treatment services are accessed.

“In some ways, substance use problems may be worse now because of sudden reduced access to a substance of choice, as well as additional stress, isolation and loneliness,” noted Vince Brown, Executive Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “In addition, to those who were struggling with substances prior to the pandemic, there may be individuals who develop a drug or alcohol problem during, or as a result of the pandemic – caused by feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, stress and loneliness.”

“Drug and alcohol treatment and support services – which include 12 step meetings and other supports – have continued and will continue through the pandemic,” adds Brown.

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 Accessing drug and alcohol treatment services are dependent upon individual coverage, but are also available to anyone who does not have insurance. Individuals requiring treatment services who have insurance, including Medicaid, should call the number listed on the back of their insurance card to get information on how to access drug and alcohol services. Those who do not have insurance should call one of the following agencies based on which is located closest to them:

  • Gaudenzia Coatesville – 610-383-9600
  • Mirmont Outpatient in Exton – 484-565-1130
  • Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems in Kennett Square – 610-388-9225
  • Creative Health Services in Phoenixville – 610-933-1223
  • Gaudenzia West Chester – 610-429-1414

In addition to treatment services, “virtual” recovery supports remain available. To locate local drug and alcohol, as well as other human services resources, go to the Chester County Department of Human Services COVID-19 Resource Guide.

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For more information on drug and alcohol information and services, visit the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services website or the Chester County Overdose Prevention Task Force website.

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