STAT / The Associated Press – In the whirr of preparations for Hurricane Irma, a needle exchange program in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood handed out extra syringes to heroin users. Others trying to break from the drug’s grasp picked up advance medication from methadone clinics.
Disasters cause stress, and stress can cause relapse for people struggling with addiction, whether their problem is alcohol, tobacco, pills or heroin. Authorities planning for the devastating effects of hurricanes now factor in the heightened danger of relapse and overdose.
The problems of alcoholism and addiction become more public in a storm, said researcher Andrew Golub of the National Development and Research Institutes in New York, who studied illicit drug users in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
“During a storm, it becomes harder to hide and cope with one’s addiction in private,” Golub said.
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