By Sue Bright, New Directions for Women

April 9, 2020

Substance use disorders affect more than 20 million Americans. When you add family members who are affected by their loved ones’ addictions, over one-third of our nation is impacted by this disease. The stigma associated with addiction may cause some individuals to perceive addicts as jobless, but in actuality, 75% of them are part of the US workforce. The annual economic impact of drug and alcohol misuse is calculated at $442 billion.

Currently, our world is facing unprecedented times. Health officials have enacted social distancing, quarantines, and shut down of non-essential businesses in most areas of the country. Self-isolation – while contributing to the greater good – can release new feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress and certainly exacerbate existing mental health problems. Many individuals are experiencing financial hardship due to changes in their family’s savings or their spouse’s employment status. According to the CDC, these stresses can lead to increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

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