Addiction recovery programs face challenges as counseling moves online

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In-person addiciton recovery meetings across the nation have been cancelled and moved online. But for many battling the illness, the lack of social interaction has been particularly tough.

“Trying to patch together a support system for people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction so that no one has to feel alone,” said Gary De Carolis, executive director of the Turning Point Center of Chittenden County.

Like many similar facilities, the Turning Point Center had to pivot its programs and services to the internet. The center typically helps about 3,000 people each month, but De Carolis said since the outbreak, many of its clients have fallen through the cracks.

“There are certain people that we might have seen at the center on a daily basis that we don’t have contact with right now and we’re very concerned about them,” he said.

“Even a Zoom meeting isn’t being in the room with somebody,” De Carolis said. “It’s better than nothing, but it certainly isn’t having everyone around you and being able to talk to so and so after the meetings over.”

Recovery coaches in the UVM Medical Center Emergency Department sifted through a list of more than 600 people the center has seen in the past year and a half.

oNe upside, recovery coaches, is the increased participation in some online activities like yoga.

The Turning Point Center’s help line is 802.861.3150

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