The drug epidemic is spread nationally across the map, and has been for some time now. Nearly half a million people in the United States died from drug overdoses from 2000 to 2014, according to the CDC. Most noteworthy, New England is getting hit especially hard by addiction. From painkillers to heroin, the drug epidemic in New England is affecting suburban and urban neighborhoods alike. Heroin use is becoming more and more prevalent . It is relatively cheap and easy to get. With the news of Cartenefil-laced heroin, the use of street heroin is basically the same as playing Russian roulette.
Current statistics show that the drug epidemic is unrelenting, Additionally It is greatly affecting the areas around New England. The number of overdoses and addiction cases in these states are rising as months go by. From Massachusetts to Rhode Island, addiction has afflicted thousands of people. States in the east and other areas of the country are experiencing a drug epidemic as well. Rhode Island in particular has been on the recent front line of a heroin epidemic.
What is being done about the current drug epidemic in the New England states? What about across the country? Lawmakers in Washington recognize that it is a nationwide public health crisis. Are there efforts in place to stop it? We’ll take a look at the drug epidemic in NE. We’ll also look at recovery efforts that are in effect.
The Extent of the Drug Problem in New England
To understand the extent of the problem in NE, let’s take a look at some statistics per New England state:
The drug overdose crisis in Connecticut is not slowing down. For instance, in 2015 the state had 729 overdoses, over twice the number recorded in 2012. More so, in 2016, there were 917 fatal overdoses, most of them opioid-related. Also, inConnecticut had 13 overdose deaths per capita in 2015. According to the Tribuna, two people die of a drug overdose every day in the state.
Maine is a state that is experiencing a steady incline of drug addiction. The CDC reported that drug overdoses increased in Maine by almost 19% from 2013 to 2014. In 2015, Maine had 272 overdose deaths, rising over 30%. This past November, the Portland Press Herald reported that drug overdose deaths now average one per day.
In 2014, Massachusetts ranked 13th in the US for drug overdose deaths. In fact, in 2015, that number was at more 1500. Additionally, this number just about tripled the number of overdose deaths from 2010. Furthermore, Massachusetts had nearly 14 deaths per 100,000 capita in 2015. Almost 1400 people in the state died from opioid overdoses in 2015. This was an 8% increase from 2014.
New Hampshire is greatly suffering from the addiction epidemic. It has one of the highest per-capita rates of addiction in the US. Between 2013 and 2014, the state saw a 73% increase in deaths from overdose. There were at least 433 deaths from overdoses in 2015 – the most in the state’s history – and 85% of them were related to opioids. That is almost 15 deaths per 100,000 people, a number that is staggering. Almost 500 people in New Hampshire died from overdoses in 2016, many of them fentanyl-related.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, there were about 220 overdose deaths from January 1, 2015 to October 1, 2015. From the beginning of 2016 to March of 2016, there have been almost 50 deaths from drug overdoses. Overdose deaths caused by a drugs and prescription medication have risen nearly a third since 2011.
Drug use and overdoses deaths have gone up tremendously in the last few years. A news report stated that:
“Last year, 104 people died from prescription drug overdoses, up from 66 in 2015. According to previous annual overdose reports, the overdose deaths in 2016 were the highest in at least the past decade. About half of these deaths are due to fentanyl overdoses, which is a prescription opioid but is often made illegally. There was also a steep increase in the number of heroin deaths, nearly doubling from 29 in 2015 to 51 in 2016.”
Addiction Recovery Efforts in Washington
On a national level, there are addiction recovery efforts in place. Last July, Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into effect. The law was the first major federal addiction legislation in 40 years. It was also the most comprehensive effort undertaken to address the opioid epidemic to date, Unfortunately the Trump administration threatens the opportunity for addiction treatment for millions of people:
“Trump’s administration is all about revving up the war on drugs, 80s-style. His focus is on controlled reform through punitive measures. This includes enforcing federal marijuana laws and cracking down on pot use to coerced treatment and mass incarceration of all drug users (including medical marijuana patients). Is this really necessary? This means that anyone caught using drugs (including medical marijuana) will be locked up. Treatment will no longer be a priority. Instead, drug users will be treated like criminals.”
The Obamacare repeal may negatively impact the current drug crisis in New England. Under the repeal bill, it is estimated that 2.8 million Americans with a substance abuse problem would lose insurance coverage. So this means that they will not be able to get treatment for their substance abuse problems. Add this to current drug epidemic and you have a recipe for disaster.
State Addiction Recovery Efforts
State-wise, there are some addiction recovery efforts in effect. Connecticut has passed many laws over the past few years to fight the opioid epidemic. The state set forth a program that monitors prescriptions in an effort to combat “doctor” shopping for numerous opioid prescriptions. As a result, initial opioid prescriptions are limited to one week. Connecticut also proposed multiple bills related to opioids, including a homicide by sale act:
“The homicide by sale act would make selling an “…opioid controlled substance that results in the death of the person who purchased the substance from the dealer” a homicide-related charge. There have been similar proposals in New York State as well.”
Local law enforcement is making genuine and gallant efforts. Local agencies formed the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative in Massachusetts to ramp up the fight against drugs.
Treatment Centers and Advocacy Groups
Luckily, there are avenues in place to help stop the drug epidemic in the US. Nonprofit organizations like The FED UP! Coalition work to find ways to prevent people from becoming addicted to opioids. The FED UP! Coalition also strives to call for an end to the addiction epidemic. Additionally, they want to see that people suffering from addiction have access to affordable treatment.
We started New England RAW to help fight the growing epidemic in America. At New England Recovery and Wellness, our team is dedicated to providing every client with a treatment and recovery experience tailored to their individual needs. Additionally, the RAW staff understands the varied roads to recovery and the challenges presented to an individual throughout their journeys. Our intimate understanding of recovery processes allows us to give invaluable guidance to all clients,. Also, we help them to maintain sustainably healthy mindsets and lifestyles.
Our treatment programming comprises a comprehensive take on recovery, incorporating one-on-one therapy, group counseling, educational groups on drug and alcohol addiction, and a guided exposure to 12-Step and other recovery-supportive practices. Furthermore, RAW encourages a healthy and happy lifestyle, with nutrition-focused catered lunches, daily fitness sessions, yoga, meditation, and a multitude of activities every week. If you are a loved one is fighting drug addiction, contact us and one of our outreach coordinators will reach you to you immediately.