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COVID-19 adds more barriers to getting life-saving medication. ‘One thing changes, and all the blocks fall.’

Charnay DuCrest loves the regular-ness of her life.  

Her home. Cooking dinner for her 6-year-old son. Her job as a community health worker with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.  

But six-and-a-half years ago, DuCrest would not have imagined the life she is living now. “I was homeless,” DuCrest said. “I have been to jail many, many, many times. My last stint was going to result in a lot of prison time.”  

DuCrest suffers from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). She strived to get off opioids when she learned she was pregnant with her son. Many things helped “save her life,” she says, including taking methadone, a medication for OUD.  

“It’s really important for me to speak up,” DuCrest said. “Just to let people know you can live a regular, normal life when you’re on methadone. It’s helped me get stable in my mental health and stay away from drugs for 6½ years.”  

But now, DuCrest and others recovering from OUD face obstacles to get their lifesaving medication: COVID-19.  

“It’s been really difficult to watch people struggle so hard,” DuCrest said. “It’s just really difficult for everybody right now. Throw Opioid Use Disorder and mental health on top of it, and it’s more of a struggle.”