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Virginia lacking in-patient beds to treat post-pandemic addiction

Roads to Recovery is one local organization willing to help (Photo: WSET).
Roads to Recovery is one local organization willing to help (Photo: WSET).
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There is a lot of new hope right now that we can go back to living a normal life again.

However, mental health experts say we have a real addiction crisis as a result of the pandemic.

Nearly every state is reporting an outbreak or increase in drug overdoses according to the American Medical Association.

Virginia's numbers show you exactly why drug addiction experts are very worried right now.

The pink line represents fatal drug overdoses between 2007 and 2020.

You can see it climb over the years and then spike between 2019 and 2020.

SEE ALSO: Poison Control Center raises concerns about Delta-8 THC

The Virginia Department of Health reports 2,297 fatal drug overdoses in 2020. That's more than all of the gun and car crash-related deaths reported that year.

Bill Loope with Acadia Healthcare helps place people who need in-patient treatment.

"It's truly a crisis right now," Loope said.

Loope said Virginia recently received $1.5 billion to help people with substance abuse disorders. However, he says if you're on Medicare or Medicaid there aren't enough in-patient beds for treatment right now.

"In the state of Virginia most Medicare providers for inpatient have waiting lists," Loope said. "Some of them are more than three weeks."

That wait time, for someone who is ready to accept help, can be extremely detrimental.

"They are at risk," Loope said. "They are truly at risk."

At risk of overdosing while patients wait for a bed, or deciding not to get treatment once there is an opening.

Pyramid Healthcare is opening a treatment center in Newport News on July 5 that addiction experts believe can help.

SEE ALSO: 1 dead, 2 hospitalized following motorcycle crash in Franklin County

Pyramid Healthcare said they will have 92 inpatient beds for substance abuse and chemical dependency treatment. There will also be 20 detox beds.

This facility will also accept undeserved Medicaid and Medicare patients.

"But it won't be long before they have a waiting list as well," Loope said.

Once you are ready to get help, there are a lot of people in our community who will fight to get you what you need.

Roads to Recovery's Chief Administrative Officer Mark Bogia laid out this step by step plan:

  • Step 1: Say those three most difficult words to say: " I need help." Because if the person who needs help isn't ready to say it on their own, it stops here.
  • Step 2: Contact an organization, such as Roads to Recovery or Horizon Behavioral Health. From there you can be assessed. Some may need in-patient treatment first, or detox.
  • Step 3. After inpatient or detox, a program, like Roads to Recovery, can offer long-term support and residential services. Recovery does not happen in 28 days. It requires the support and care from a network of people and services.
  • Step 4. Engage in your recovery. Find your pathway (12 steps, faith-based, therapy, IOP,) while embracing honesty and humility.

It really takes these 3 things to recover:

  1. Social Support (very few can do it alone)
  2. Stable Housing
  3. Meaningful employment ( a reason to get out of bed). Employment services are available at R2R as well as Horizon.
"Recovery is possible. 25 million people are in active addiction in this country," Bogia said. "The same number of people (approximately) are LIVING in sustained recovery. Let's start focusing on hope and the possibilities recovery brings. Building a life worth being sober for."
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