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Health experts find being confined at home is leading some to drugs

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – When people stay at home, it’s helping control the spread of coronavirus, but numbers are showing it’s causing a different health crisis.

Drug overdoses are going up during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Washington Post article.

The Post calls it a “hidden epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic.”

In Kansas, community mental health centers are helping people through the tough times.

Brad Sloan is the program manager at a Valeo Recovery Center in Topeka. The center helps people people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and opioids.

Sloan said people could be turning to drugs during the crisis to cope with fear, loneliness, and depression.

“Isolation is something that an addict and an alcoholic fights consistently because isolation is what kind of gets you in trouble,” Sloan said. “Because when you’re sitting alone and you kind of get inside your own head and there’s a lot of thoughts and things like that.”

Sloan said it’s critical for people who need help to seek it.

“The key is to break out of that isolation,” Sloan said. “Especially now, because if we’re truly going to be in this together you have to be able to reach out to another person that’s going to support you in your recovery, which is probably one of the most difficult things for people to do.”

Just because the effects of the crisis may have led a person to take drugs, Sloan said the road to recovery could last longer than the pandemic.

“‘Whether or not you’re able to stay sober is not dependent upon the circumstances that you’re currently dealing with,” Sloan said. “The circumstances don’t determine your recovery.”

Valeo is one of 26 community mental health centers across the state that provides services to Kansans. To find the full list, click here.

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