With pandemic, addiction treatment facilities see an increase in patients

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  As alcohol sales soar during the pandemic, addiction treatment experts are beginning to see an increase in the number of people who need to go into rehab. 

The numbers are mind-boggling. 

Sales of alcohol are up over 55%, according to multiple studies. One report says sales of spirits have risen about 80%, and beer sales 70%. 

Steve Wicke, CEO of Recovery Centers of America, Devon facility, says he doesn’t need to look at statistics; he’s been seeing some troubling trends on the ground.

“We’ve heard story after story, patients coming in, it’s a very familiar story. Alcoholism and drug addiction are a disease of isolation, and a typical story is, ‘I was furloughed or laid off because of COVID and I relapsed,’ whether it’s alcohol or some other substance,” he explained. 

They are also treating more first-time patients under an assortment of pressures, who’ve been self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. 

Wicke says he and his staff are now bracing for a surge in patients waiting for lockdown restrictions to be lifted.

“We know that the level of folks seeking treatment, particularly inpatient or residential treatment, is significantly down across the country. And it’s not like those patients are going somewhere else for treatment, right? There are a lot of folks that need treatment that aren’t getting it right now,” he added.