As alcohol sales surge, officials encourage people struggling with addiction to seek help

Posted at 5:38 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 21:15:09-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Addiction treatment centers say more people have been needing help amid the pandemic. And officials say as long as the shutdown continues, they expect that won’t change.

But there is hope for those that feel they need help.

“A lot of people think they’re too young. You know, it’s never too early. Your bottom is when you stop digging," said 17-year-old Santa Clarita resident Teigan Sobkowich, who is two years and seven months sober.

He says if you're struggling during the pandemic, don't be afraid to ask for help.

“Just reach out, ask for help. The resources are here. You just have to want them," Sobkowich said.

Action Rehab, located off Buck Owens Boulevard, is one place someone can call if they need help. The facility’s owner says alcohol and drug abuse is a disease of loneliness, so since stay-at-home orders began in March, many people have been in greater danger of starting a drinking problem, or relapsing back into one.

“It’s interesting because, before the pandemic, it was mostly opioids. Now, most of the calls we’re getting are alcohol-related," said Cary Quashen, CEO, of Action.

According to Nielsen data, total alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants have surged roughly 24% during the pandemic.

“First of all, if you ever have to question yourself, ‘do I have an issue? Is this a problem?’ the answer is yes," Quashen said.

Quashen says the number of people calling Action for help has increased, and so has the number of loved ones calling on other people’s behalf. He says if you suspect a friend or family member needs help, talk to them. Because there is hope.

“People are isolating, people are alone, anxiety is very high, so it’s a good time to reach out and let somebody know, ‘hey I love you, and I’m concerned," he said.

Action Rehab can be contacted at 325-4357. They say even if they can’t help you with your specific need, they will help you get in touch with someone who can.