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PNS Daily Newscast - October 19, 2920 


Trailing Biden in Nevada, Trump holds a jam-packed Carson City rally. And with COVID a major election issue, hospitals help patients register to vote.


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Litigation is ongoing on ballot receipt deadlines, witness signatures and drop boxes. And early voting starts in a dozen states this week.

Online Recovery Day Offers Help for Drug-Abuse Patients

Patients struggling with substance-abuse disorders can make strong connections with online counselors because they're comfortable being treated at home. (Adobe stock)
Patients struggling with substance-abuse disorders can make strong connections with online counselors because they're comfortable being treated at home. (Adobe stock)
September 17, 2020

CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- With drug abuse on the rise during the COVID-19 shutdowns, the first-ever National Online Recovery Day next week will highlight the availability of telehealth drug treatment for 20 million Americans struggling with substance-use disorders.

West Virginia, especially, has seen a spike in opioid overdoses since the start of the pandemic and experts say it's because many users are unable to attend in-person recovery programs.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame, substance-abuse counselor and co-founder of online provider Lionrock Recovery, said the Recovery Day campaign urges people who need help to take the first step.

"So many people affected by substance abuse feel ashamed and fear being stigmatized by their communities," Blassingame said. "And online treatment and support eliminate those barriers for seeking help."

A University of Baltimore report shows drug overdoses in the nation have risen by 18% since March.

West Virginia had a 50% jump in May from the same time last year. National Online Recovery Day is next Tuesday, Sep. 22.

Blassingame said studies show abstinence success rates for online treatment services are twice the national average than for in-person recovery programs. This is partly because people feel more relaxed getting treatment at home.

"People are more able to be vulnerable faster because they're in their home environment," Blassingame said. "They're more comfortable in their relationship with their provider, creating a really strong therapeutic alliance; interestingly, something we did not think was going to be the case."

Drug-overdose deaths rose 5% last year, killing roughly 72,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - WV