CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Opioid addiction has been rising in Charlottesville during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, residential treatment facilities like the Mohr Center are struggling to accommodate this increasing need.
“Typically, we probably would have been able to get someone who’s appropriate for this treatment in with us within probably seven days. Now, we’re looking at scheduling two to three weeks out,” Mohr Center Director Joey Usher said.
As the pandemic forces people to socially distance, many in need of residential opioid addiction treatment are stuck on a waitlist.
“We’ve had to decrease our capacity to about 50%. We normally had max occupancy of 14 individuals and we’re only able to serve seven at a time,” Usher said.
Usher says this problem is urgent: “Oftentimes, when they’re ready to come in that’s the only time they’re ready to come in. So we have to get them in quickly,” he said.
The Charlottesville Fire Department says it has seen a huge jump in opioid overdose calls since March, and that it’s up more than 100% percent year over year.
“In 2019 March to September, we had 28 opioid overdoses in the city and county. This year in the same month, we had 73 overdoses. So quite an increase,” CFD Systems Performance Analyst Lucas Lyons said.
Usher says the Mohr Center is trying to figure out efficient ways to treat as many people as possible.
“We’ve got to get an increase level of treatment to them more quickly. We’re definitely seeing kind of this increase in severity in that addiction. I think it speaks to that emotional distress that people are experiencing because of the result of the pandemic and COVID-19,” he said.
If you or a loved one is in need of help, Usher says to contact Region Ten to set up an assessment.