The global pandemic creates conditions that are ripe for the deadly opioid epidemic, and experts worry that the coronavirus will leave a growing toll of overdoses in its wake. To prevent deaths and promote recovery during the Covid-19 outbreak, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board offers specialized virtual services, including training to reverse overdoses, drop-in peer-led recovery groups, and substance use disorder counseling.
“We know that isolation can compound the underlying causes of substance use disorders. And the anxiety surrounding the coronavirus, childcare closings, and finances don’t help. We want individuals to know that they are not alone in their struggles and that we are here to help them find hope in these uncertain times.”Executive Director Jane McDonald Yaun
Studies from the National Bureau of Economic Statistics show that a one percent increase in the local unemployment rate can drive the opioid overdose rate up three times. And changes in recovery services can cause stress and relapses. To mitigate these impacts, RACSB is using video conferencing to provide a variety of supports for individuals with opioid use disorders and their families.
REVIVE! Opioid Overdose Reversal Training
This life-saving education teaches individuals how to recognize and respond to opioid overdoses by administering naloxone. The 60-minute online course will teach participants to fully respond to an opioid overdose emergency. Participants will need a smart phone, tablet, desktop or laptop computer equipped with a camera, microphone and speakers and Zoom video meetings conferencing software, which is available as a free download.
Participants who live in the City of Fredericksburg or the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania or Stafford will be able to pick up a free kit that includes CPR mouth barriers, vinyl gloves, stickers and an instruction card. They will also have access to a free dose of naloxone.
Virtual trainings will be offered May 28 at 6 p.m.; June 15 at 11 a.m.; and June 22 at 9:30 a.m. Participants can sign up for the session of their choice at https://bit.ly/VIRTUAL_REVIVE. Registration will be confirmed by an email with the course login instructions.
“We are pleased to provide this important training virtually. Addiction and opioid use do not take a break even in a pandemic. Following completion of the online training, there will be scheduled opportunities for participants to pick up a free REVIVE kit and dose of Narcan. Contactless, of course!”Prevention Services Coordinator Michelle Wagaman
Peer-Run Support Groups
RACSB hosts three virtual peer-run groups weekly via Zoom. Find links and instructions on joining the groups here.
The available groups are: Remodeled Recovery, Mondays, 12:30—1:30 p.m.; Serenity Sisters, Tuesdays, 12:30—1:30 p.m.; and Hunger for Hope, Fridays, 3:30—4:30 p.m.
These groups are designed to offer encouragement and advice from someone who understands the unique struggles of recovery in a pandemic. Anyone who needs support in dealing with drug and/or alcohol use may attend. Those who choose to participate agree to attend in a private space without others present. Attendees will be asked to share their location and contact number with the host at the start of group, in case of emergency.
RACSB offers Medication-Assisted Treatment, an evidence-based protocol for opioid use disorders that combines medicine with intensive behavioral therapy. To find out more about this treatment, call Arianna Colley at 540/993-1195.
Outpatient therapy services are now being offered virtually. Individuals should call the clinic in their home locality to receive telemedicine services:
- Caroline County, 804/633-9997
- Fredericksburg, 540/373-3223
- King George County, 540/775-9879
- Spotsylvania County, 540/582-3980
- Stafford County, 540/659-2725.
The community services board had to quickly set up new technologies and programs to provide the telehealth services. A $15,000 grant from The Community Foundation’s COVID-19 relief fund helped alleviate some of the costs associated with these new services.
“These times can be unsettling to anyone. Now more than ever, support and connection are key to emotional well-being and sobriety.”Clinical Services Director Jacque Kobuchi
RACSB’s emergency services will be available 24 hours a day. Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis should call 540/373-6876.
Recognizing that individuals will struggle with anxiety during this time of change, RACSB has also created a page of resources and updates for the community. These resources include videos from RACSB staff on topics related to recovery and can be found on the agency website, https://bit.ly/racsbCOVID.