Experts say pandemic a dangerous time for addicts

Posted at 6:01 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 19:06:23-04

PASCO COUNTY — PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- A Pasco County woman, who did not want to be identified, told us how she was homeless and is battling meth addiction.

But now, she’s found a place to get help during one of the most stressful times imaginable.

“I went into Detox before everything happened. And when I came out, my friend who was driving me home said, 'You have no idea what’s happening in the world,'" she said.
Grace House in New Port Richey is where the woman is getting help.

Rachel Starostin runs Grace House.
She says it’s a dangerous time for addicts.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of people relapsing on alcohol or other substances. I think it’s very difficult when people feel isolated. The unknown. A lot of people are losing their jobs. Economic insecurity is really stressful," said Starostin.
According to Nielsen, online alcohol sales rose 243% last month.
Most liquor stores are still open.
And in states where marijuana is legal, sales are up 50% according to Flowhub.
Experts say boredom is one of the main triggers.
“We are worried about resources, things like toilet paper and bleach have become a big issue. And all those stresses become overwhelming so people need someone way to cope," said Starostin.

Recommendations to fight addictions include meditation, exercise, or diving into a hobby.

And programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are available online.

“I did the Zoom meetings and it’s different, but you get to meet people from all over the world. I had people from Ireland. You get exposed to it in a way that you wouldn’t normally get," the Grace House resident told us.

Starostin says as hospital beds get taken up by patients with coronavirus, they’ll be less room for those fighting addiction.

She says she’s also reaching out by phone more often to those in need.

“Just saying connected. Sometimes people just need you to listen.”

For more information on Grace House, go to