“It’s OK to think honestly about your alcohol and other drug use”
Have you noticed a change in your alcohol or drug use since lockdown? Maybe you’re drinking more than usual, out of boredom or anxiety, or maybe you’re noticing than when you do use, you have a longer comedown or hangover. It can be uncomfortable to reflect on our substance use, but it’s worth doing so says Anna, a social worker. “Take the time now to have a think about and reflect on your substance use, you’re worth it”.
If you think there are changes you’d like to make, you’re not alone, and the support you might need is available. “I think that it's really neat that those people are able to step back and go ‘ya know is this my alcohol use that's causing my problems or are the problems in my life leading me to use more’,” says clinical psychologist Andre. “Sometimes if we can sit back and take the time to explore we are more likely to move to a position of looking at options.”
Wanting to change your relationship with substance use doesn’t necessarily mean you are addicted or need intensive treatment – plenty of us want to drink less, for example, and just need a bit of support in making small lifestyle changes to achieve this. If people close to you have raised your substance use with you, or if you’ve caused harm to yourself or others, then it’s worth considering if you need to make some changes.
Those changes can be small – like talking to someone. “You’re not alone,” says Cynthia, a clinical manager. “There are lots of people out there who are also asking for help and there's a whole team out there waiting to help you.”Talking about drug and alcohol use can feel like a topic that can be put off until issues get big, but it’s ok to think and talk about it before issues arise. “Just be kind to yourself. you’re worth it.
”We are all doing our part to help stamp out COVID-19. We are now at alert level two. Play it safe, practice good hygiene, and keep your distance from others in public. If you are experiencing a cough, a high temperature (at least 38°C) or shortness of breath, contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) immediately. For more information visit covid19.govt.nz
If you or someone in your household decides to use alcohol or other drugs, or change their use during this period, look at this information on how to stay safer, manage withdrawal symptoms, maintain recovery, and support others. We are working with addiction treatment services and other organisations to make sure we keep this page updated with accurate and relevant public health information.
Last updated: 26/05/20
During Alert Level 4, we surveyed over 120 services and individuals to understand what impact the Covid-19 lockdown has had on people who use drugs.
We found that while some people were using more alcohol or other drugs during lockdown, others used the time to take a break.
To read a summary of key findings and download the full report, please visit this page on our website.
There are a a range of COVID-19 harm reduction resources from overseas which may be of interest to those working in the AOD space in Aotearoa. We have provided the below links for people who would like to find out more about the different approaches organisations overseas have taken to COVID-19. Please bear in mind these resources were not developed for New Zealand, and the context and language used around harm reduction and addiction may differ from what we would use here.
When sharing any harm reduction resource, we recommend referring to the Language Matters resource from Matua Raki to ensure stigmatising language is being avoided.
Links to further information and resources:
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