MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — If you were to go inside NuView Treatment Center in Marina del Rey, chances are you’ll see the Director of Admissions for the Drug Rehabilitation Program, Madison Young, on the phone.

What You Need To Know

  • The pandemic can increase drug use in two ways, the number of triggers goes up, and the number of services, meetings and social connections go down

  • DEA agents say that the cost of meth is way up from $750 per pound before the pandemic, to more than $3,000 right now, they say this is due to an increase in demand, but also because the number of drug seizures is up

  • From 2015 to 2018 the number of OD deaths involving psychostimulants (mostly meth) have risen significantly to 12,676 deaths according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse 

“We have therapy available, counseling. We do case management. [We] help clients with building their first resume and learning how to do those things that maybe no one has taken the time to teach them,” said Young.

Young’s scars from her own addiction to meth and heroin means she understands clients in a profound way.

“I remember my last time using, I overdosed in an AA bathroom,” she said.

It was a dark time for Young, turning tricks to get high.

“I was a homeless junkie basically,” she said.

Young is now over four years sober, but she worries that the pandemic has created a double whammy for people to turn to drugs.

According to Young, triggers like record unemployment, mental health issues, and boredom are up.

“Some people turn to the bottle as a means to cope,” she said. “I’ve seen created alcoholics during this time. I’ve had people come in that maybe have never seen a problem in their life, but due to the isolation, the sadness, the depression, they think that alcohol will solve it. Pills will solve it.”

The second way the pandemic has affected drug addiction, according to Young, has been the reduced amount of services that help addicts cope, everything from AA meetings to church services have been canceled or gone virtual. 

“The accessibility to meetings was gone. The lack of connection and that’s really where the clients and myself, that’s what helped me, was having social connection and in our world right now, we don’t have a lot of that,” said Young.

She is happy that she is now in a position to be able to help others.

“It makes me feel like what I went through, all the trials, all the tribulations, the homelessness, everything that came along with my addiction was not for no reason. It was to help someone else basically,” said Young.

Only time will tell the full effects of the pandemic on drug addiction, but until then Young will keep trying to help people make it through the hardships.