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Rise in substance abuse relapse during pandemic

Posted at 9:37 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 23:28:52-04

TULSA, Okla. — Melissa Hayes is ready to get her life turned around.

“I’m 44 and I’ve been on some kind of substance since I was probably 15," she said.

Hayes recently got out of prison and is now getting help from the Resonance Center for Women in Tulsa. She said every day is a struggle.

“Yeah, a cold beer would be great, but I would rather go get a Pepsi," Hayes said. "And then I know that I can go home and feel good about myself when I go to bed.”

Cathy Hodge, reentry director at the Resonance Center for Women, said there’s been an increase in relapses during the pandemic. Many are due to the stress of losing a job or hours being cut. Or trying to work, but also having to stay home with children who can’t go to school. The isolation of the pandemic is wearing on those in recovery.

“There’s so many activities that people engage in to replace the substance using behavior that, quite frankly, they’re not able to do right now," Hodges said.

Hodges said the biggest thing someone can do is reach out for help.

“Have a structured routine to the extent that they’re able to stay in the moment and know that this too shall pass," Hodges said.

Hayes agrees. She’s thankful to have help and a chance to reconnect with her family again.

“If I can do it, you can do it," Hayes said. “It’s a beautiful life without it. You think you have a great life, but you don’t.”

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