LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic has led to a rise in substance abuse across the country, according to multiple studies. Many people have turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the added stress and uncertainty, including some young people.
Mondays Dark hosts Black Monday for substance abuse nonprofits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent numbers show drug overdose deaths across the U.S. are at a record high.
CARE Coalition is a local nonprofit organization that provides awareness and education to people of all ages regarding substance abuse. Randal Colquitt is the organization's grants program manager. He says isolation is to blame for many people turning to the bottle.
"People weren't going out. They had to stay at home, and they were fearful of the unknown, so they were turning to their devices such as alcohol and substance abuse to cope," Colquitt said.
September is known as National Drug Recovery Month and this year concerning data shows an increase in overdose deaths amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Colquitt says there are signs that parents and friends can look out for if they suspect a loved one is abusing alcohol or drugs, including erratic behavior or a sudden change in weight.
"Severe alcohol misuse stipends hunger. So, you become less hungry when you drink when you abuse drinking," Colquitt said.
If you think a loved one needs help, Colquitt says you should tell them in a sensitive matter.
"You don't want to judge, you want to listen, you want to recognize and help them to recognize that what they are going through is real because it is real. And then you want to offer to find them professional support," Colquitt said. "You also want to help them look for underlying issues that are pushing them to misuse alcohol or substances."
If you think you have a problem, Colquitt says it's important to recognize that addiction is a disease, and it can be treated.
If you are someone you know needs help, CARE Coalition is a one-stop-shop. Visit carecoalitionnv.org for more information.
Sponsored by America First Credit Union and Subaru of Las Vegas.