Overdoses spike in Montgomery County during pandemic

Coronavirus

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Montgomery County’s ADAMHS board says overdoses have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and local recovery groups say they’re also receiving more calls for help.

According to Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director of Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, the county saw a spike in overdoses in March, the month when the pandemic shutdowns started, and another increase over the past week.

Many recovery groups have moved their meetings online during the pandemic.

“There’s several people, one gal from Cincinnati who likes the meetings because she can’t make it up to Dayton, so it’s kind of like a bittersweet thing,” said Lori Erion, who is now running meetings for Families of Addicts from her living room.

Erion told 2 NEWS her virtual meetings consist of around 25 to 35 people – about half the attendance of her in-person meetings. But her organization has received a roughly 30 percent spike in calls for help, many due to alcoholism, she added.

Montgomery County has also seen an increase in overdoses, according to the ADAMHS board.

“In March, we had quite a spike,” Jones-Kelley said. “We were up 48 percent over where we were at that time last year.”

Many treatment and counseling services remain available, both online and in-person, Jones-Kelley said.

“This is the time to reach out and get those services as they’re feeling a sense of hopelessness or just wanting to talk with someone,” she said.

Erion told 2 NEWS it’s hard to say how soon she’ll be able to run in-person meetings again for her large group – and how quickly people will choose to return.

“I don’t know if the social distancing is really going to work for us,” she said. “So I haven’t really even thought about when we’re going to be able to start meetings back up with the amount that we have.”

The Miami Valley Warmline is still taking calls for anyone looking to get connected with recovery and mental health services during the pandemic, Jones-Kelley said. Anyone interested may call 937-528-7777 between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, according to ADAMHS.

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