BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the pandemic continues, a local addiction treatment center wants to continue providing services for those struggling with addiction.

Those with BrightView in Boardman say they’ve had to make a few changes to how they service patients as the need for treatment has grown in the past year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on one group of people in particular: those battling addiction.

“Generally, when we look around the Mahoning County, what we see is an increase in opioid use. We see an increase in fentanyl in the local heroin supply and a decrease in people seeking treatment from the emergency room,” said BrightView Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Navdeep Kang.

BrightView is an outpatient addiction medicine practice center located in Warren and Boardman. Since 2019, they’ve expanded throughout Ohio and into Kentucky because of the need for service.

“I think there’s a lot of general despair, so people turning to substance use to something legal like alcohol or other substances to just cope with some of the challenges that’s been brought by 2020,” Dr. Kang said.

The center still allows for in-person group therapy sessions, but Dr. Kang says because of the pandemic, they’ve had to make changes to how they communicate with patients, which led to their telehealth services.

“The ability to join virtually is just really nice and convenient. It reduces the need for transportation and helps treatment fit into people’s lives a little easier,” Dr. Kang said.

The social isolation and disconnection that we’re all facing take a toll on us. So, Dr. Kang says treatment is available on site along with their 24/7 call center.

“However, it makes sense for someone to come in, even walking in without an appointment. We’re here to help,” Dr. Kang said.