New Brunswick

Addiction services available, but may be restricted, during COVID-19

Detox centres may see capacity reduced, AA meeting held virtually

Detox centres may see capacity reduced, AA meeting held virtually

In a statement from the province said the focus at the moment is making sure detox centres are following the directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. (Photographee.eu/Shutterstock)

Addiction services in New Brunswick are still available, but the delivery of those services may be different than normal according to the province.

In a statement the province said the focus at the moment is making sure detox centres are following the directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"As with other hospital settings, the capacity may be reduced to be able to respect the directives," said the province. 

"Those who are prioritized for residential withdrawal management treatment are able to receive this care in a safe and secure environment."

Mental health and community addiction counselling services are still operating, but in-person group treatment has been stopped.

The province says these services may be offered over the phone and that recovering addicts should stay in contact with their service provider.

In-person Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have also been cancelled because of COVID-19.

A spokesperson for AA Area 81, which organizes AA meetings for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, said meetings are still taking place either through Zoom or teleconferencing.

Alcohol concern

There is some evidence that physical distancing measures implemented as a result of COVID-19 have led to Canadians buying more alcohol.

A CBC News investigation found that alcohol sales increased in March just as physical distancing restrictions began.

Recently some addiction experts told CBC News they were concerned that more people would turn to alcohol to deal with the stress of COVID-19.

This comes as the World Health Organization warns that alcohol "can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence."

"Existing rules and regulations to protect health and reduce harm caused by alcohol, such as restricting access, should be upheld and even reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic," said the WHO.

A spokesperson for NB Liquor and Cannabis NB didn't provide any sales data for March, saying it would be released as part of quarterly reports next month.

The province said addiction services aren't seeing an increase in demand at this time.

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