Opioid addicts gear up for multiple battles in light of Coronavirus pandemic

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 03/20/2020, 12:36 PM
Edited: 03/20/2020, 12:42 PM
(TULSA, Okla.) Vehicles spilled out onto the service road behind a crowd gathered at a Tulsa treatment center, but not for the reason you might think. Rod Cargill is the executive director of Oklahoma Treatment. He told VNN people addicted to opioids are now having to fight their disease- and a virus. “The scary thing is, we have people out there who aren’t going to seek treatment.” Cargill said. “This is a high-risk time for people with addictions. Please seek treatment. We will get you in.” We’re told Tulsa Rightway Medical sees roughly 1000 people a day. But precautions to limit Coronavirus within their facility has dozens of people backing up along the building. Some wear masks to protect themselves. Inside, Cargill said treatment is limited to 10 people at a time and everyone is having their temperature taken. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those seeking help for opioid and meth addiction could be vulnerable to Coronavirus due to the treatment drugs’ effect on respiratory and pulmonary health, as well as the effects of drug abuse itself. Experts say they are also more likely to be homeless or incarcerated, thus potentially extending their risk of contracting the virus. The rest of Oklahoma is taking steps to lessen the risk. State prisons and jails have canceled visitation. Homeless shelters are ramping up their cleaning protocols, and Tulsa County says they are working to clear out the old juvenile center to make more housing for the homeless. Tulsa Rightway Medical is one of seven Oklahoma Treatment facilities throughout the state. The facility has been authorized to dole out extra dosages of treatments in case they are forced to close their doors. Cargill said there is no plan to do that right now. If you are struggling with addiction, a list of resources can be found at https://www.samhsa.gov/ Additional resources include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Both offer free and confidential support 24/7.


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