Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact people with substance abuse disorders

Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact people with substance abuse disorders
Navigating life amid a global pandemic is difficult enough on its own, let alone while battling drug or alcohol addiction.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The coronavirus crisis has taken away so much of what we are used to.

For those who struggle with a substance abuse disorder, it’s made this time an even greater challenge.

In fact, a data report by the social defense division of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment stated that the national helpline witnessed a surge of about 200 percent in distress calls from alcoholics, drug addicts, and their family members since the lockdown was first announced in March.

A local mother, Vicki Rogers, wanted to share her son’s story in the hopes of helping other families. In May, Tripp Rogers was three and a half years sober from an opioid addiction. Then came the global pandemic.

”When the pandemic hit, it took him completely out of routine,” she said. “A routine for people who are in recovery can be the most important thing that they have.”

Rogers said her 30-year-old son who had his own home in New Albany found himself with nothing to do.

“He couldn’t go to his AA group,” she said. “Couldn’t go to work because everything (was) suspended. Couldn’t sell real estate either. Couldn’t go to church ... going to St. Mark’s in New Albany and loved his church group. And couldn’t go to the gym. He was going to the gym five days a week. So he couldn’t do any of those things.”

The old habit that began with marijuana in high school and then progressed to more serious drugs was picked up again, all too familiar and just as dangerous. On May 19, the day before his family was going to take him to a detox center, he overdosed.

It was the coroner who broke the horrible news to Vicki that her son had died. She wanted to share Tripp’s story to help others.

“There are so many people with substance abuse problems and disorders,” Rogers said. “It’s skyrocketing right now because of the pandemic, because people are being taken out of routines. And it’s awful and its hard.”

She learned Tripp had paid his mortgage and car payment on the day he died. He had a life he wanted to live.

Now, she said he’s sending her signs to make her life easier, like the beautiful sunset the day after he died.

”My daughter went ‘Mom, look at the sky. Tripp painted the sky for us,’” Rogers said. “He was an artist, so we really do feel like he painted the sky for us.”

If you need help with addiction or know someone who does, you can call the National Helpline for SAMHSA at 1-800-662-HELP.

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