WZZM: Dr. Russell Yskes Addresses the Topic of Pandemic Substance Use

WZZM: Dr. Russell Yskes Addresses the Topic of Pandemic Substance Use

October 21, 2020

Addiction Psychiatrist Dr. Russell Yskes appeared on WZZM’s ‘My West Michigan’ with Catherine Behrendt, to talk about the growing problem of substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey, about 18% of current alcohol users and 13% of drug users have increased their use of those substances during the pandemic.

Dr. Yskes attributes this increase to the overwhelming stress and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 combined with social isolation. He also points out that along with impairing judgment and interfering with sleep, substance use actually lowers our immune system and makes us more vulnerable to becoming ill. Overdose and even death is also a serious risk.

To ease stress levels, Yskes recommends taking part in healthy self care such as exercise, and spending time with people you’re not quarantining from as much as you safely can.


Russell Yskes, MD, is an addiction physician at Pine Rest and a member of our Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Class of 2020. He attended medical school at Wayne State University and completed his residency at the Pine Rest – Michigan State University Psychiatry Residency program.

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