BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The COVID-19 pandemic has created a huge challenge for many in the community, but for some people dealing with substance abuse, that challenge is on a different level, officials say.
“Really it's a disease of loneliness and isolation, so now we have this pandemic and we’re in this quarantine, what do you think people who are drinking and using are doing now?" said Cary Quashen, the Owner and President of Action Drug Rehab facilities.
When 23ABC last spoke to Quashen a few months ago, he was concerned the pandemic would cause people to not reach out for help out of fear of getting sick. He predicted that as fears over the virus subsided, lots of people would flood in for help all at once. He says he was right.
"Our phones have been crazy right now, and of course, opiates are the number one thing, but right close to it is alcohol," he said.
Quashen says the majority of people that are calling are desperate because the virus put them in a situation of distress, or because they put off getting treatment for an extended period of time, a problem he doesn’t see dissipating as coronavirus cases remain steady throughout Kern and other nearby counties.
“The problem is, they're still a little intimidated. So we’re getting the calls but they're not quite ready for treatment, so you know it’s coming," he said.
He says what’s coming is an even larger spike in people needing some form of help with addiction. Action rehab offers both in-person and Zoom treatment options. He says there is absolutely enough help available for any number of people who reach out for help.
“If you think you have a problem, you probably do and I would highly suggest you get professional help immediately. Don't wait, don't put this thing off," he said.
Action Rehab can be contacted 24/7 at 800-367-8336. If they can't help with your specific need, they will help you find other services.