Pandemic brings an increase in drugs and alcohol use

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a major toll on Alabamians. Now, medical officials say that toll has led some to turn to drugs and alcohol to ease their pain.

In Jefferson County, officials have recently seen an increase in drug overdose deaths by at least 37 percent during the first ten months of the pandemic. In Houston County, luckily that is not a problem.

“Here in Houston County we have been very blessed we have not seen a change in overdose there is no rise in overdose here in Houston County,” Judy Guiler said.

But there is a rise in the use of substances which could be attributed to the pandemic. 334 prevention executive director says with parents returning to work and students being at home alone attending virtual school, it could lead to wrong decisions.

“I think the reason for the rise of alcohol sales and also substance use is the boredom truly in our youth here in our area. They are looking for things to do when you have medicine laying around at your home that’s why we always ask parents to lock up their drugs and this is the one reason why,”

An agency like 334 Prevention Project is there to educate kids as well as adults about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Guiler says she’s glad that it’s not that much of a problem in Houston County due to adequate teaching.

“The more children that are educated on the dangers that a drug can do it really just changes their mind completely,” Guiler said.

The organization mainly focuses on the youth by going to various schools to educate kids about drugs but if there are some adults out there, they are willing to come to your job for a seminar.

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