‘Usually a disaster’: Addiction experts see negative impact of stimulus checks


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stimulus checks have reached the hands of millions of Americans, hoping to provide a little relief during the pandemic. However, some area treatment centers are seeing the checks impact those struggling with substance abuse disorders.

Huther Doyle, a treatment center in Rochester, says they have seen a trend after a stimulus check is sent out. Once the money is in the hands of a client, some will stop showing up to their appointments.

“When that large amount comes in, it’s almost like a pay day for them. They’re very excited and they have a hard time planning accordingly, so it’s usually a disaster,” said Joel Yager, Senior Director of Clinical Service for Huther Doyle. “It helps a lot of people, I understand that, but it doesn’t help everybody.”

When people don’t show up to their appointments, most of which are being held online, Yager says they have been on top of reaching out to those individuals to make sure they are OK.

“We have a peer program that our peers will actually call up and contact them to get to them a lot quicker, so we don’t have them hanging out for too long,” Yager said. “If they don’t meet the phone call or zoom meeting, we then have someone on them right away to find out what’s going on.”

Yager says there has been a large increase in people using drugs during the pandemic, yet some people aren’t getting the services they need because they are afraid to come in.

If you are someone with a substance abuse disorder and received a stimulus check, Yager says don’t immediately cash it. Instead, he recommends talking with a sponsor or support system to decide what to do with the money.

If you need treatment, Huther Doyle has rapid access to treatment services. You can contact them at (585)-325-5100.

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