SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – A hospital in the Miami Valley is reporting a rise in patients battling substance abuse issues.

Mercy Health – Springfield said they believe the rise at its location is due to residents continuing to struggle establishing a sense of normalcy due to the pandemic, causing them to relapse into old habits.

“With COVID, the social and emotional piece has been completely disrupted,” said Mercy Health – Springfield’s Director of Community Health Carolyn Young.

The hospital said they’re seeing a major increase in substance abuse patients, specifically with over the counter drugs and a significant rise in vaping.

Young said, “Coming out of isolation, people are struggling with questioning when to wear a mask or if they even should and now those day-to-day struggles are exacerbated by living in a pandemic.”

On top of adapting to constant changes, Dayton nonprofit Families of Addicts (FOA) said the ongoing war in Ukraine is affecting the U.S. economy and is making it difficult for families struggling to make ends meet.

“It has skyrocketed and is stressful and that brings on a lot of usage,” said FOA Executive Director Anita Kitchen. “Because of the inflation rate, it’s still going up. People can’t make ends meet and the economy is affecting it.”

Whether meetings are online or in-person, Kitchen says in order to stop the rise in substance abuse, constant support needs to be available.

“It’s critical for people to come get that support as well as families,” said Kitchen. “Addiction is not just an individual disease, the whole family struggles with addiction.”

The FOA is hosting a free open house Wednesday night at the Life Enrichment Center at 425 N. Findlay Street in Dayton from 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. For more information, click here.