A nationwide surge in substance abuse is creating new challenges for addiction treatment centers, who now must overcome people’s fears that treatment could mean a return to the isolation first brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Recovery Centers of America at Lighthouse, CEO Corey Richey said the organization has seen the need for substance abuse treatment consistently increase since the pandemic began 27 months ago in March 2020, but has seen patient response to treatment options change. She said more people struggling with addiction are loath to enter treatment, something she attributed to how COVID and public-health shutdowns are now less salient in people’s lives.

“A lot of the feedback that we’re getting from people when they’re calling in is that they’re not ready to essentially isolate themselves again when they’re just getting back to normal life,” Richey said. Read More from Press of Atlantic City.