Drug and alcohol dependency affects every community in New England, which experienced a 20 percent growth in total substance abuse from 2003 to 2012. The overall drug threat to the New England (NE) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) region, which includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, remains fairly consistent. Opioid abuse (primarily heroin and controlled prescription opioids) remains the most significant drug threat to the New England area,and there are no signs that this problem will diminish in the near future.
If you or a loved one are suffering from the problem of substance abuse addiction in the New England area, whether your drug of choice is heroin, cannabis, cocaine, prescription painkillers or alcohol, now is the time for you to think about admission to a drug treatment program. The compassionate addiction specialists at recoveryas.com can help you find the treatment program that will lead you or your lovedone back to a life of sobriety. Take the first step toward a fulfilling life by calling us toll free today at 1 (877) 968-6283.
Key issues in New England
Key issues identified in the New England HIDTA region include the following:
• Opioid abuse—primarily of heroin and controlled prescription opioids—poses the most significant drug threat to the New England region and places a significant burden on law enforcement and public health resources.
• The trafficking and abuse of cocaine pose significant threats to New England by contributing to high levels of associated criminal activity and threatening the public welfare.
• Marijuana availability is high and increasing in the area. Criminals are taking advantage of state medical marijuana laws to increase cannabis cultivation.
Prescription opioid users are fueling the heroin abuse problem in the New England region as a rising number of them switch to heroin because of its wide availability, higher potency and greater affordability. Although the region’s treatment admissions for heroin and prescription opioid pain relievers are among the highest in the nation, recoveryas.com will match you with the right drug abuse recovery program for your situation.
New research shows that the number of babies born in 2014 in Massachusetts with opiates in their system is more than triple the national rate — and far higher than the number tallied by state officials. Hospital diagnoses data reported to the federal government also show that the toll of opiate addiction is affecting babies not only in Massachusetts, but in New England as a whole, at far greater rates than the rest of the nation.
Cocaine distribution and abuse has also had a negative impact on the New England HIDTA region, contributing to high levels of crime and straining healthcare systems, while the threat posed by marijuana has risen recently with increasing cultivation of the drug. Many cannabis growers are exploiting state medical marijuana laws to produce illicit crops.
Drug distribution within the region is centered in two primary hubs located in the Hartford, Connecticut/Springfield, Massachusetts and Lowell/Lawrence, Massachusetts areas. The Providence, Rhode Island/Fall River, Massachusetts area is a secondary distribution center that supplies Cape Cod. Boston is primarily supplied by drug distributors operating from the Lawrence, Lowell and New York City metropolitan areas.
Distributors in New York see a wide-open market in northern New England, where law enforcement can be spotty and users are willing to pay premium prices. A $6 bag of heroin in New York City fetches $10 in southern New England but up to $30 or $40 in northern New England. The dealer gets a tremendous profit margin, while the addict pays half of what he might have to shell out for a prescription painkiller.
Which social groups face the greatest risk of alcohol and drug use/abuse?
In the northern tier states, today’s drug addiction issue transcends all income levels, gender, racial or ethnic differences, as well as rural/suburban/urban distinctions. For example, in contrast to the 1970’s stereotype of the unemployed inner city addict, more than 75 percent of current users participate in Maine’s workforce.
A person’s likelihood to binge drink or use illicit drugs differs significantly by age category. In New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, for every major substance type, 18-25 year old adults exhibit higher rates of drug consumption than 12-17 year olds and those over 26 years of age.
While alcohol and marijuana continue to account for the highest number of users across all ages, the nonmedical use of prescription drugs, particularly opiates, and heroin is a growing concern as the number of people seeking help with opiate and heroin addiction has nearly tripled since 2004.
New Hampshire and Vermont stand out as having statistically higher rates of binge drinking, marijuana use and prescription drug abuse among all age categories as compared to the national averages. For instance, more than 50 percent of young adults in New Hampshire engage in regular binge drinking, while less than 40 percent of their counterparts do so across the nation.
Interestingly, Maine’s figures for binge drinking and prescription pain relievers mirror the national averages, but its residents’ marijuana use rates are among the highest in the country. Almost three out of every 10 people in the 18–25 age group report smoking marijuana at least once in the past month.
Heroin and Fentanyl: A deadly combination
The governors of five New England states met in June 2014 to create a regional strategy to combat the rise in overdoses and deaths from heroin and other opiates. The numbers show that New England is being hit particularly hard by heroin. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of people being admitted to medical or rehabilitation facilities primarily for heroin use from 2008 to 2013 has jumped by 233 percent in Vermont, 75 percent in Maine and 45 percent in New Hampshire.
As the number of heroin users rises, a new, deadly form of the drug is hitting the streets of New England: heroin laced with a powerful opiate called Fentanyl. Fentanyl-laced heroin has been identified in deaths in Boston, Brockton and Taunton and could be responsible for the spike in heroin overdose deaths in this region.
More than 200 people in Massachusetts died from opioid overdoses between November 2013 and June 2014. In Rhode Island, 91 people died of the same cause from the beginning of 2014 through mid-May. Close to half of the fatal overdoses there were connected to heroin mixed with fentanyl.
Heroin produced in Colombia is shipped to Mexico, where authorities believe drug cartels add fentanyl,a synthetic opioid which is 30 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. The drug is then smuggled across the border to traffickers in the U.S., some of whom travel more than 2,000 miles from New England to the Southwest border for the drug. There is a possibility that some fentanyl is added to heroin after it crosses the border into the U.S.
Heroin-poisoning deaths drastically increased
Although drug abuse epidemics have been historically an “urban problem,” the nature of the market and the demographic profiles of users have changed in ways that are particularly threatening to the economic well-being of New England’s northern tier states, which are characterized by vast rural areasas well as aging and shrinking populations.
New England’s heroin problem may be one of the biggest public health issues of the past few years. Vermont is the epicenter of the explosion in heroin addiction in New England. The state has seen an increase of more than 250% in people receiving heroin treatment since 2000. The greatest percentage increase, nearly 40%, occurred this past year when Vermont had nearly twice the number of deaths from heroin overdose as it did the prior year.
Heroin killed 21 people in 2012, three times as many as in 2011, according to Vermont’s Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. The Vermont Health Department reported that 914 people were treated for heroin abuse in 2012, up from 654 the year before, an increase of almost 40 percent. New Hampshire recorded 40 deaths from heroin overdoses that year, up from just 7 a decade ago.
Youthful binge drinking and marijuana use on the rise
According to the most recent state-level data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, New Hampshire and Vermont stand out as having statistically higher rates of binge drinking, marijuana use,and prescription drug use among all age categories as compared to the national averages. For instance, more than 50 percent of young adults in New Hampshire engage in regular binge drinking, while less than 40 percent of their counterparts do so across the nation.
Vermont youths also topped the nation in binge alcohol use in the last month (9.94 percent) and illicit drug use in the last month (15.46 percent). Rhode Island was second among all states for illicit drug use for 12- to 17-year-olds; Massachusetts was fifth.
Interestingly, Maine’s figures for binge drinking and prescription pain relievers mirror the national averages, but its residents’ marijuana use rates are among the highest in the country. Almost three out of every 10 respondents in the 18–25 age group reported smoking marijuana at least once in the past month. Young adults in the 18–25 age group are more likely to use and abuse each of those substances.
According to a 2012 survey, Connecticut ranked No. 4 among all states for the percentage of its 18 and older population who reported drinking in the last month. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire had slightly higher rates. While Connecticut’s numbers are still high, they are down from previous years.
In 2012, Connecticut’s youths didn’t report using marijuana as much as those in other states. About 8.72 percent of Connecticut’s 12- to 17-year-olds reported using marijuana in the last month, ranking it 17th nationally. However, Vermont led the nation, with 13.36 percent of its youths reporting recent marijuana use.
Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire were also in the top 10 for states in 2012 with high rates of youth marijuana use.
How to get help for addiction in New England
We at recoveryas.com understand the difficulties in finding the right treatment program for someone suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Give us a toll-free call at 1 (877) 968-6283 today. We will match you with a specialized drug rehab facility in your home state, the New England area or wherever you want to be. Recoveryas.com can help you choose the treatment program that will get you or a loved one on the road to sobriety and good mental health.
If your insurance coverage is with one of the following companies, recoveryas.com will assist you in finding the help you need. We can work with any PPO coverage and also offer affordable self-pay and financing options for addiction treatment.
Recoveryas.com will never charge you a fee for our placement services, so make a toll free call to 1 (877) 968-6283 now to speak with one of our caring addiction specialists about treatment options in the New England region.
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