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Georgia sees 18 percent increase in people seeking treatment for addiction since pandemic started

At the same time, more Georgians are turning to alcohol to cope with unemployment and quarantines.

MARIETTA, Ga. — More Georgians are seeking treatment for substance abuse since the pandemic.

It’s both good news- and bad. People are getting help, but more are turning to alcohol and drugs to cope.

"The thing about addiction is, it's an illness," said Chelsea Cronin, a Peer Support Specialist with The Zone in Marietta.

The recovery center is busier than ever with people coming in to get help. 

"They may be thinking, 'hey, now is a good time.'"

It's not just Marietta. A study from the American Addiction Centers show there’s an 18 percent increase in Georgians seeking treatment since the pandemic started.

The same study points out more Georgians are turning to alcohol due to unemployment and quarantines.

“As far as the epidemic that we go through on a daily basis with drugs and alcohol without the pandemics, to see that number go up that much in percentage, it is alarming," said Cronin.

Cronin knows the spiral of substance abuse; she’s two years sober herself and in long-term recovery.

"I didn't worry about relapsing when the pandemic started. I seem to be pretty strong currently in my recovery."

But, she’s also known people close to her who’ve recently overdosed.

Nationally, overdoses are up 18 percent.

“A lot of people might know that they have a problem, for example, I did for quite a while but I didn’t accept it as a life-threatening kind of thing that I need to change.”

She recommends anyone wanting to accept they need help, to try one thing.

"Try a meeting, they’re not for everybody, but somebody in that meeting might say something that makes you think hmm, that sounds like something I experienced or something I went through.”

The Zone in Marietta hold meetings and operates as an environment for people to be a safe and sober place.

Recently, they started targeting people who are experiencing homelessness, who are often overlooked, by giving them three meals a day to help with their recovery process.