LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) – The stress of the pandemic on frontline medical workers is well documented. And that stress has led some in the medical and first responder community to seek relief through alcohol and drugs.
Now, a Colorado addiction recovery center has launched a treatment program designed specifically for them.
The “Frontline” program launched a few weeks ago at Northpoint Colorado, an inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment center in Loveland.
“I think there’s never been a better time to get treatment,” Director of Clinical Services at Northpoint Colorado Ariana Iacobucci, told FOX31.
The program focuses not just on treating the addiction, but also the anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder that can lead to substance abuse. And the medical field has been overrun with PTSD in the last 18 months. The World Health Organization estimates at least 115,000 health and care workers worldwide have died from COVID-19. That threat, coupled with the stress of long shifts and shrinking staffs, can lead to the sort of trauma that often leads to addiction.
“I think there’s no doubt that the pandemic has resulted in sort of unprecedented stress and anxiety in many of us, across the country and the world,” Iaconbucci said. “And that’s likely even more true for frontline workers who have experienced undoubtedly an increase in their work load, and (given) the gravity of their work. So we wanted to be here to help the address any of the maladaptive coping skills that they may have picked up during this time. And we wanted to create a program and a facility that would help them heal in a safe and confidential and compassionate setting,”
Mental health and self-care is an increasingly important issue in the medical field. In other states, government agencies have set up emotional support phone lines and virtual counseling sessions for frontline workers who are emotionally impacted by the pandemic. But few specific substance use disorder and addiction programs have been started before now.
“I think we’re talking about it more than we ever used to talk about it, I think there’s more and more resources available, and I think people are feeling like there’s hope and there’s less stigma to having a problem in the first place and then seeking treatment for that problem,” Iaconbucci said.
For more information on the Frontline program, or if you need help with drug or alcohol dependency, visit the Northpoint Colorado website.