What Are Americans Turning To For A Fix? Substance Addiction Is On The Rise During The Pandemic.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

National Addiction Organization has seen a 16% increase in substance addiction treatment inquiries since the start of lockdown.

  • Iowa saw the greatest escalation in treatment inquiries with a startling 61.38% increase.
  • 1 in 5 recently unemployed Americans are turning to alcohol.

Across America, authorities have reported an overwhelming increase in the number of drug overdoses since the pandemic began. Being isolated from loved ones for a prolonged period of time may have a negative impact on mental health. This, combined with the economic instability and heightened anxiety many are facing during this time can increase the likelihood that an individual will turn to substances.


In fact, a NBR study shows there could be a direct correlation between rising unemployment rates and an increase in opioid overdose deaths. Additionally, a recent survey reported that 1 in 5 recently unemployed Americans are turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

American Addiction Centers, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment resources, analyzed data from March – July 2020 and compared it to the same period in 2019 in order to determine the percentage change in new user website inquiries during the pandemic. The figures reveal an overall 16% increase across the country in new addiction treatment inquiries in this time period*. They have also seen a 10% increase in telephone inquiries since the start of the pandemic.

Broken down across the US, the increase in online inquiries was found to be highest in Iowa, which saw a staggering 61% increase. See American Addiction Centers information and interactive map at the end of this post

Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer for American Addiction Centers explains:


“A significant portion of this year has been difficult for everyone, and very challenging for some people in recovery. Financial woes and housing concerns during a global pandemic are circumstances worrying for anyone. For those living a sober lifestyle, this can be too much to handle and turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like substances, becomes a real possibility.”

With tensions and stress levels elevated during the pandemic, relapsing during this period can quickly lead to an overdose because the longer the drugs are out of a person’s system, the lower their tolerance becomes. This may be another contributing factor to the increased number of people seeking treatment for substance use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Have you seen an increase in friends dealing with issues with substances?



Created by American Addiction Centers  • View larger version

window.addEventListener(“message”,function(e){e.data.hasOwnProperty(“FrameHeight”) && (document.getElementById(“data_map_iframe”).style.height = e.data.FrameHeight + ‘px’)}),document.getElementById(“data_map_iframe”).onload=function(){ document.getElementById(“data_map_iframe”).contentWindow.postMessage(“FrameHeight”,”*”) };

Instinct does not promote any other addiction service over any others. Information supplied in part by  American Addiction Centers.

*Based on American Addiction Centers new user website inquiries. Percentage changes from March-July 2019 vs. March-July 2020.

Leave a Comment