Amidst the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, support groups for millions of addicts around the world have become inaccessible. During this time of isolation and heightened anxiety, addicts are left to battle their addiction alone and risk relapse. While these groups continue to meet online, those without fast internet or smartphones struggle to access them.
As per reports, 283 million people around the world continue to suffer from alcohol-use disorders. According to estimates released by the World Health Organization, approximately 3 million people a year die from alcohol abuse each year. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which is one of the world’s largest networks of support groups, helps people battle their addiction and quit drinking. It has an estimated 2 million members in 180 countries.
AA groups are decentralized, meaning that Individual groups have the ability to decided whether they will continue their meetings, move their meetings online or suspend the meeting entirely. As per reports, British addiction support organizations have announced that face-to-face meeting have been cancelled and online services were being given priority.
According to reports, even with lockdowns in place some US and Canadian groups continued to meet while others have moved their meetings online. In Mexico City, the attendees at the meeting wore masks and did not physically interact with each other while in Nairobi, groups are meeting in public parks and staying one meter apart from each other.
Matthew Thomas, a communications consultant for the British charity Action on Addiction and a recovering addict said that this is a ‘crisis within a crisis’. He added that addiction was a disease of isolation and that community was the best way to fight addiction but due to the coronavirus pandemic, that community has been really seriously compromised.
The deadly coronavirus pandemic has infected 471,576 people globally and killed more than 21,296 people. 114,694 are said to have recovered from the virus.