ReboundKC: People struggling with drug and alcohol addictions can make a First Call for help

Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 24, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — First Call Alcohol/Drug Prevention and Recovery in Kansas City, Missouri noticed an alarming trend following the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders.

Susan Whitmore, First Call President and CEO, said that people who were struggling with addictions before the pandemic, fell into an even darker place after the coronavirus hit.

Whitmore is asking people with drug and alcohol addictions to reach out for help and call the First Call crisis line at 816-361-5900.

Recovery advocate Bethany DePugh answers many of the crisis calls at First Call. She has been in recovery for 10 years and said her job is about listening and offering services and counseling to the caller.

"When I found my bottom when I could no longer do it on my own and didn't know what the next right step was, there were people there for me," DePugh said.

First Call leaders also noticed another trend also noticed another trend since the COVID-19 pandemic. With the stay at home orders, more parents and teens were together at home and some parents discovered their teens secret-struggle.

"We've gotten calls from some parents who have kids who are at home, teenagers who maybe have developed an addiction in the course of events and the parents are unaware," Whitmore said.

She said those parents are calling and getting help from First Call, through virtual classes and virtual --individual and family counseling. Telephone counseling is also available.

"Substance abuse disorders are a family disease and so the more other family members are treated at the same time, the more successful the whole family system gets," Whitmore added.

DePugh says it can be difficult to make the call, but said she's glad she did and hopes others will too.