YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – COVID-19 has caused many to struggle, but for those battling addiction, isolation may have impacted their road to recovery. On Friday, an addiction resource event was held to help those in the community get through these tough times.
Project Worth Saving hosted the event at the former CVS building Friday afternoon.
Lead organizer and President of Project Worth Saving Nicole Brantner travels the country creating these pop-up recovery drive-thrus.
“We couldn’t sit back and not do something,” Brantner said.
Due to COVID-19, Brantner says many in recovery were forced to isolate and as a result they relapsed and overdoses skyrocketed.
“It was the perfect storm for relapses, and it skyrocketed. Overdoses, deaths, the suicides,” Brantner said.
Various tables were set up at the drive-thru with information for those who struggle with homelessness, addiction, mental illness or a lack of resources.
“We’ve seen definitely an increase in addiction due to COVID for sure,” said Audrey Novotny of Valor Recovery.
Project Worth Saving teamed up with Thrive Peer Support, Harm Reduction Ohio and Homeless Hookup to bring resource information to the vulnerable communities.
Along with naloxone kits, the drive-thru offered food boxes, personal hygiene kits and access to treatment resources.
“With the quarantine and everything that happened, it shut the recovery community off from access to things like harm reduction, information about services like what On Demand and New Day, Neal Kennedy, Valor, what we provide. They weren’t able to get out and meet us and see us like they’re used to seeing,” said Chrissy Profera from On Demand Counseling.
Different organizations throughout the Valley came out to offer their support to anyone who drove up, knowing that for many who came, it could be their only way to receive any help.
“There’s clearly a need here in Mahoning County, Youngstown, especially for recovery outreach, so things like this are phenomenal for the community,” said Novotny.
Brantner says that when the pandemic shut everything down, it made it easy for people to revert back to their coping mechanisms.
“It’s easy to fall right back into the depression and the mental illness, and being stripped away from everything sometimes they’re not really equipped to cope that quick and it happened quick,” Brantner said.
She added that this event is her way of helping the city that helped save her life from addiction.