Still Working Hard –

March 25, 2020 – More recently, overdose deaths from stimulants have surged, potentially representing the next phase of the drug crisis. Overdoses from psychostimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine spiked 22 percent from 2017 to 2018. In Los Angeles, gay men carry the heaviest burden of meth addiction.  

It’s a medical emergency of the highest order, so rehab centers remained open and are adjusting to the realities of operating an essential business during a pandemic. 

“One of the most difficult challenges that we faced in the last two weeks is trying to very rapidly adapt to a telehealth model,” Fernandez-Comer says. 

Instead of commuting to CRI-Help’s facilities, staff now provide one-on-one counseling and group sessions over video chat. Aside from creating the infrastructure necessary to pull this off—from wiring the building to ensuring a robust broadband connection—this has posed much more human challenges. 

“You have to be able to entertain and engage in order to keep the recently recovering addicts and alcoholics with you for 60 to 90 minutes.”


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