The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it, and its effects on substance abuse and addiction are no exception. Factors such as social isolation, increased stress and decreased access to treatment contribute to the rising trends noted by public health officials since the pandemic began.

Widespread Mental Illness and Distress

It’s understood that mental health disorders make people more vulnerable to developing addictive behaviors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased reports of mental distress for many populations, including those with no history of mental illness.

Younger adults, racial and ethnic minorities and essential workers are also experiencing greater rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health problems that may lead to substance abuse.


A high percentage of individuals suffering from addiction experience homelessness, and vice versa. This demographic is at an increased risk for COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions and the virus being spread in homeless shelters.

Increased Frequency of Drug Overdose

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of overdose deaths in the United States in 2020 was the highest ever recorded, with nearly a 30% increase from 2019. More people were using drugs alone, and with decreased access to substance use treatment and emergency services, death tolls climbed.

Impact on Treatment and Recovery

Those in treatment for drug abuse and addiction face unique challenges brought on by the pandemic. Physical distancing, quarantine and other public health measures have disrupted access to medication and support services for many.

At Big Fish Ministries, we offer 12- to 18-month men’s and women’s recovery programs rooted in Christ-centered principles. We foster healing and transformation through recovery classes, individual and group counseling, case management, Biblical teaching, mentorship and more.

Recovery can be especially difficult due to social distancing orders and quarantine, which may limit access to peer-support groups. Social connection and support are crucial, and isolation is a risk factor for relapse.

We understand these risk factors, and we offer a faith-based outpatient recovery program with group and individual counseling options. The counseling services offered through this program incorporate a Biblical foundation with principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed care. Participants receive one peer-led support group session and one individual-counseling session weekly for 8 weeks, led by licensed substance-abuse professionals.

Big Fish Ministries remains committed to bringing hope to hurting and broken people, especially in this uniquely challenging climate. If you or a loved one needs help, learn more about our alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs, and apply today.

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