A few weeks ago, some preliminary statistics were released citing a surge in deaths due to overdose during 2020. Although data are incomplete and will likely remain underreported, the government estimates that around 93,000 people died of drug overdose last year, up 30% from the reported deaths at the end of 2019. In Vermont, the percent increase is estimated at nearly 58%.
But those numbers tell only a part of the story when it comes to the difficulties of recovery and sobriety during the pandemic. With human interaction and support a critical component in recovery, meaningful help has been harder to come by or sustain. Many folks increased or began using substances as a means of dealing with pandemic stress. Isolated households and individuals were left unequipped or caught unaware as struggles mounted.
Whether or not we know it, all of us know someone in recovery. Many of us have seen up close how the pain of the last year has manifested in new or renewed challenges around substance use. The hurt and the struggle are very real, as is the help available (see below). We can all be a part of supporting recovery by acknowledging the struggle without judgment or stigma.
If you or someone in your household is in need of help, please reach out. Primary care physicians, 12-step programs, or Howard Center First Call are all great places to begin a conversation. I’m also including below a list of the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings now occurring in-person at UCU each week. If you’d like to talk to someone ahead of showing up to a meeting, I would be most happy to arrange that while protecting confidentiality.
With prayers for personal and collective recovery,
Keep it Simple AA Meeting – meets in UCU’s Fellowship Room– Mondays @ 8pm; Wednesdays @ 7pm; Fridays @ 8pm; Saturdays @ 6:30pm
Women’s AA Meeting – meets in UCU’s couch room (downstairs) – Thursdays @ 6:00pm