On a single day, May 21, there were 30 overdose incidents in the Capital Region. Substance-related overdoses and alcohol intoxication incidents have been on the rise locally throughout this pandemic.
According to Dr. Timothy Brooks, Saratoga Hospital’s Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, the department has seen an unusually high number of opiate-related issue in the first four months of this year. He says if this keeps up, the hospital could see as much as a 63% increase in such cases this year over 2019.
We all know these are difficult times, but what’s even more distressing is that we don’t know when it will end. That uncertainty, in addition to the added stress of job loss, isolation, and worry about the pandemic, is weighing heavily on everyone, even as we begin the reopening process. In such an environment, there may be someone you know who is struggling to get through the day.
Given the rising incidents of overdose, Dr. Joshua D. Zamer, Medical Director for Addiction Medicine at Saratoga Hospital Community Health Center, offers some helpful advice if you are concerned about someone who may be abusing drugs or alcohol:
- Find ways to educate yourself about addiction.
- Don’t judge or lecture. Listen, encourage them to seek help, but know they must make the call.
- Be realistic in your expectations. This is a lifelong disease.
- Seek support. It may be helpful to get counseling for yourself.
- Learn CPR and, when possible, get NARCAN training.
Being prepared is the best thing you can do to protect your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. The good news, Dr. Zamer says, is that current Addiction Medicine patients are doing well, showing great resiliency in the face of the pandemic.
The Addiction Medicine program is seeing new patients via telemedicine. If you’re struggling with addiction and would like to get help, please call the Addiction Medicine team at 518-886-5601. If you are interested in attending a future NARCAN® training, please email Saratoga Hospital Community Wellness Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional resources offered at Saratoga Community Health Center and elsewhere are available here.