Pandemic, weather leading to increase in substance use

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A survey from MagnifyMoney, a financial services company found the sale of alcohol, adult entertainment and cigarettes have all increased 70% during the pandemic. 

It’s a trend that local recovery groups have seen here in West Michigan as well. 

Guiding Light in Grand Rapids says their patients are navigating a ‘perfect storm’ of sorts. They can’t trace the increase in vice use to any one event, but many. 

West Michigan is just getting out of its darkest stretch of the year. It’s cold and many are still forced to self-isolate. Guiding Light says these reasons, both seasonal and pandemic related have led to this spike.

Since January alone, 65 new people have sought the help of the ministry in addressing addiction. 

“We’re the tenth highest alcohol consumption state since the pandemic hit,” Guiding Light Development Director Starla McDermott said. “It’s cold, it’s dark. I think that’s how people are dealing with being alone. It’s triggered.”

McDermott says to make matters worse they expect even more will need help once the housing moratorium ends. 

If you need help or know someone struggling with addiction, call 616.451.0236. The recovery process with Guiding Light is free for anyone looking for help. 

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