As our collective attention is focused on increasing coronavirus cases, the epidemic of opioid addiction continues to devastate families across our state.

Tragically, the very things that protect us from the coronavirus, such as isolating ourselves from others, can have a negative impact on people recovering from substance use disorders. Being alone and feeling alone can cause people in recovery to relapse and overdose.

While we are all doing our part at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus, we should remain vigilant and look out for our loved ones. If you know someone who is in recovery, reach out to them over the phone or with a video chatting service. Texting isn’t recommended as it can potentially increase feelings of isolation. If you’re staying home with family members who may be struggling with addiction, keep an eye out for warning signs such as increased fatigue, rapid weight loss, or frequent constipation or nausea.

For more information on what to look for in your home, visit the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative website to take a virtual tour of the Code 3 trailer. The educational program simulates a teenager’s bedroom, highlighting the hidden warning signs of substance misuse. You can access the interactive tour at https://www.rali-il.org/rali-cares.

Together, we can stop the spread of coronavirus and we can help our loved ones overcome addiction.

James Schreiner

Drug-Free Communities Grant Project Coordinator, Pledge for Life Partnership