COVID-19 and Substance Use Over the Holiday Season

December 16, 2020. Article by: Government of B.C.

There is no question that 2020 has been an unprecedented year. The Province of B.C. is experiencing dual public health emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis. This has been a challenging year for everyone, in B.C. and around the world, but progress is being made. And things will get easier.

This year continues to look different than what we have been used to in the past, including this holiday season. We’re staying home more than usual and limiting in-person social interactions to those in our households, as much as possible. Learn more about the province-wide COVID-19 restrictions.

There are things that you can do to keep in good spirits over the holidays this year. There are supports you can put in place to help you and your loved ones stay well and stay safer.

There are many different reasons why someone may use substances. During these stressful times, people may be experiencing sadness, anxiety, or isolation. Sometimes, people may use alcohol and other drugs to cope with how they are feeling. If you or someone you know is experiencing a substance use challenge or addiction, there are resources and services that can help.

You are not alone, support is available.

Stay safer this holiday season

Here are some ways to stay as healthy and safe as possible:

  • Relationships and connection with others have never been more important. You may want to make plans to connect with others virtually. It may be helpful to make plans in advance and have these fun times to look forward to.
  • If you are experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge, or are on your recovery journey, you may want to make a support plan with a trusted friend or family member.
    • Reach out regularly to them or have them reach out to you. Have someone to confide in if you need support or immediate help. Develop a plan that works for you, so you feel safe and supported.
  • It is more dangerous than ever before to use drugs alone. Use substances in moderation and as safely as you can.
  • Call 8-1-1 for non-emergency health information, including how to access alternatives to the toxic drug supply and supportive recovery services.

If you suspect an overdose, call 9-1-1 right away.