WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Those battling addiction and substance abuse have been among the many affected by the pandemic.

Lauren Thorp, director of recovery and youth programs at Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said meetings are a challenge for those who rely on that face to face contact.

“As different 12-step fellowships were moving to remote meetings and people were not longer able to have that personal contact, that really impacted the recovery community as well as treatment centers moving to telehealth,” Thorp said.

With this change, Thorp says people in these programs begin to feel less connected, which makes them more likely to use a substance. One of the most common being fentanyl.

“All of our overdoses in our county, except for four, in the last year had fentanyl in the toxicology reports. It’s been a huge driver of the overdoses in our community,’ Thorp said.

In 2020, Thorp says they had approximately 879 overdoses in Trumbull County, 107 of those being fatal. That’s a significant increase compared to 2019 when they recorded 766 overdoses, with 92 deaths.

In response, Thorp says they’ve created an “Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention” group to rally around this drug issue..

“We have the health department, schools, people in recovery, treatment centers, faith-based communities, look at the data and overdose numbers and say what is going on in our community and what can we do to impact that,” Thorp said.

As we begin the new year, Thorp says she hopes to see the number of overdoses decrease and see people taking advantage of resources.

If you are battling or having trouble with substance abuse, you can the dial 211 for the Help Network and get assistance.

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