The Coronavirus Pandemic has affected so many of us in different ways, and there are a few patterns showing. Substance abuse like drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are just one example of the toll that it’s taken.

Unfortunately, we still have ways to go in this pandemic, so it’s best to learn about the problems that we’re facing. Let’s talk about Covid-19 and its impact on alcohol, tobacco, and other substance abuse.

Mental Health And Covid-19

One of the biggest factors in substance abuse is mental health, which has not been improving among the general population since the start of the pandemic. Why would it not take a toll on the Muslim community, as they are facing increased discrimination in Australia?

However, they aren’t alone. Social isolation is not good for anybody and it leads to serious mental health issues including anxiety and depression. In fact, the Mental Health Services of Australia released that at the very start of the pandemic, the number of admissions increased from 237,000 per week to nearly 300,000.

Not everybody with a mental illness succumbs to alcohol addiction or other substance abuse disorders. However, when mental health disorders increase throughout the general population, substance abuse tends to be a side effect.

Substance Abuse In Australia

Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and more have been increasing in recent months, likely due to the rise of mental health issues from the pandemic. Substance abuse is so common with mental illnesses, including loneliness, because it’s a form of self-medicating.

When you feel stressed, anxious, lonely, or depressed for a long period of time, the feelings can really start to get to you. When they become too overwhelming, you will feel the need to make them go away, whether that means finding ways to introduce new feelings, numbing yourself, or trying to forget.

While much of that could be accomplished with healthy behaviors like diet and exercise, the unfortunate reality is that many people turn to drugs and other substances in order to cope.

Drug Use And Covid-19

Drug use covers a wide variety of substances, from cough syrup to fentanyl, but it’s undoubtedly on the rise. With increasing mental health concerns come increasing prescriptions. Many of those prescriptions, especially for anxiety or depression, are highly addictive.

Not only that, there are street drugs that are taking over many cities within Australia, and those come with a host of other concerns. Prescription drugs are essentially always what they say they are, but street drugs can contain anything. This leads to a greater risk of overdoses, making it imperative to stop abusing these substances immediately.

Treatment is almost always necessary for these types of addictions, and it should be sought out as soon as possible. If you or a loved one are abusing medication or other drugs, seek out the proper support.

Alcohol Use And Covid-19

While we don’t have statistics specific to the Muslim community, alcohol use has been on the rise among average Aussies since the start of the pandemic. In fact, 12% of Australians admit to using alcohol on a daily basis now, which is a sharp rise from pre-pandemic levels. Not only that, 1 in 5 Australians say they’ve increased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

Alcohol is a serious intoxicant that impairs your ability to drive and make decisions. It is also banned in the Muslim faith. However, many Muslims find themselves trapped in the grips of alcohol addiction every year.

Alcohol is different from drugs in only one sense; it’s legal. Alcohol is addictive, psychoactive, and it is used for self-medication in the same way as other hard drugs. People suffering from alcohol addiction require the same type of treatment as those with an addiction to other substances.

Tobacco Use And Covid-19

While it isn’t clear how much tobacco abuse is on the rise thanks to the pandemic, it is clear that tobacco use is deadly, especially thanks to the pandemic. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Australia, as it is used so commonly among almost every community within the country.

Contracting Covid-19 is far more likely to bring serious complications or illnesses to a smoker than it is to a non-smoker. The disease attacks the lungs more than anything else, so having damaged lungs puts you at a much higher risk for hospitalization or death from Covid-19 complications.

Many countries around the world offered the vaccine to smokers before the general population or at least included smoking as a pre-existing condition for vaccine eligibility in the early days of the vaccine rollout. This is because the science was so clear that tobacco use was directly linked to serious complications.

If you, like so many others, currently use tobacco products, now is the time to quit. This is especially true as the Delta variant continues taking its laps around the world.

The State Of Substance Abuse: Halal Or Haram?

We all know that drugs and alcohol are forbidden in the Muslim faith. However, many have been succumbing to the pressure faced by the pandemic, employment challenges, and isolation.

Rehabs in Australia are even attempting to take the stigma out of substance abuse for those of the Islamic faith, as the crisis is only worsening. If you find yourself in the position of abusing drugs or alcohol, it is okay to seek treatment, regardless of your personal or family beliefs.

Substance abuse is not only a problem in Islam but a problem to public health and safety. The increasing rates of alcohol abuse are a serious threat to the general public, especially the people struggling with those additions. If you feel you need help, seek it out immediately.

What Support Do You Need?

Well, having family and friends to support you is critical. If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, offer your support in any way you can. The stigma of substance abuse in the Muslim faith makes it challenging for many to speak openly about their issues.

If you are able to play a supporting role or find one for yourself, you’ll see how much of a difference that makes. Everybody needs a helping hand.

However, you can’t expect somebody who is addicted to a substance to just walk away from it without any issues. Offering or receiving emotional support is important, but there are other ways that are necessary to treat addiction. A 12-step program, rehab, counseling, or medical detox are just a few examples that should be tried. Inpatient rehab has been proven to be the most effective form of addiction treatment.

Does Faith Play A Role In Healing?

While the Quran says that all intoxicative substances are prohibited, does that mean there’s no role for your faith in recovery? Well, that’s entirely up to you.

Faith can help you overcome challenges in your life, keep you on the right track, and give you the motivation to improve. However, is it enough?

Well, the truth is that faith can play any role in your life that you want it to. However, having medical or psychological support throughout your healing process is just as important as anything else could be. By all means, look for a program that offers faith-based recovery or spiritual counseling if that’s what you prefer, but make sure you’re getting the help you really need.

Recovery is a difficult process that many people, regardless of their faith, have had to overcome. They’ll be the first ones to tell you that it’s hard to do it alone. If you are looking to take that first step toward recovery, look at some of the best rehabs in Australia to get you back on track.

What You Can Do

Even if you don’t know anybody struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, you can still do a lot in terms of spreading awareness and reaching out to your community. Ending the stigma of substance use is the only way to allow those who are suffering in your community to reach out for help.

If you need any inspiration, see more about Aussie Muslims doing great things for their community. Start there and keep looking for opportunities to help.

Get Help Today!

Whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, alcohol, tobacco, and other substance use is unsafe, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Staying in good health has never been more important. Look into getting treatment right away, stay up to date with our latest news, and contact us with any questions you have.

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Managing Director

Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue. Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations. In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.

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