TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A recent study conducted by an agency that is part of the American Addiction Centers of the United States, has found that one in five Arizonans treated pain with either drugs or alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.
River Oaks, a drug and alcohol treatment addiction center, conducted a survey of more than 3,600 adults over the age of 21- in which over 22 percent of Arizonans admitted to substance and non-prescription use to deal with pain since the pandemic began.
In addition, the same percentage of survey respondents said they tried to deal with anxiety the same way. The report said nearly half took sleeping pills to get through the night in the event that they had no medical help to treat pain.
Many also admitted to avoiding getting medical attention in fear of contracting COVID-19. According to the survey, one in three Arizonans avoided seeing a doctor or dentist during lock-down.
“Drinking, or taking any substance in order to avoid pain is not only a bad idea, but it can potentially make a medical condition even worse,” said Sharon Sabb-Oce, director of nursing at River Oaks Treatment Center.
“Continuing to use a substance to numb pain will eventually lead to greater consumption, so not only are you ignoring the initial complaint, but you may have caused another issue to arise. For those concerned about the risks of an in-person doctor’s clinic, contact your primary care provider or a local clinic and inquire about their telehealth services. Many providers have transitioned to virtual appointments and there may be a more reasonable option to receive care.”
Arizona is the third state in the United States with the highest polled reports of substance use for dealing with pain and anxiety during COVID-19- right after Louisiana and Rhode island with 25 percent and West Virginia with 29 percent.
For a full view of infographic results across the U.S., click [HERE].