The state of Massachusetts has been widely affected by drug and alcohol abuse over the years. The state is home to many different professions, which all look forward to unwinding at the end of the day to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. Unfortunately, however, it is one of the states hit hardest by addiction. While Massachusetts continues reeling and turning back the clock to find a sense of normalcy, solutions are being sought from all levels to overcome this battle.
Massachusetts is working to increase the availability of drug and alcohol treatment throughout the state. Since the opioid crisis has been at the center of the situation, and the state consistently ranks in the top ten for opioid overdose deaths, the type of treatment programs are emerging to cope with this disaster. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, other drugs like MDMA, cocaine, and alcohol are also commonly abused throughout the state.
Not everyone who drinks alcohol or consumes drugs will develop a substance use disorder (SUD). However, it exists within the realm of possibility, depending on your circumstances. If a person is considered “high-risk” because of their family history of substance abuse, social or home environment, or genetics, it puts them at a much greater risk of falling down the slippery slope of addiction.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that 16 million people across the United States are affected by alcohol use disorder (AUD) each year. The statistic deserves attention since this dangerous drug can be purchased legally at a store. Let’s delve a little deeper into some figures.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released figures showing that 67,367 drug overdoses took place in 2018 throughout the country. They estimated 46,802 of these deaths were related to opioids, which stem from the availability of illicit drugs like fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin and has mostly taken over the country recently.
In Massachusetts, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a staggering 88 percent of drug overdoses involved at least one opioid in 2018, totaling 1,991 deaths. The deaths involving heroin and prescription opioids remained steady with 475 and 331, while fatalities involving fentanyl skyrocketed to 1,806. This figure accounted for more than 90 percent of opioid-related deaths in the state.
Massachusetts has taken the opioid crisis seriously, and doctors wrote 35.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, which is significantly lower than the national average of 51.4 per 100 persons. The state has been amongst the hardest hit, and stringent measures were implemented to solve the problem.
Figures released by SAMHSA reported that individuals admitted into treatment for illicit drugs over the age of 18 tallied at 888, 1,095 for marijuana, 3,544 for alcohol, and 1,815 for binge alcohol use. Binge drinking is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as heavy alcohol consumption in a short period, where women consume four or more drinks in an hour and men five or more. Binge drinking is dangerous and can cause devastating consequences even to those who don’t struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Not only is binge drinking an indication of potentially severe alcohol abuse that can lead to alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, violence or injuries, chronic liver disease, fetal alcohol syndrome, or other chronic health conditions. A person may see no issues with drinking only on the weekends. Still, if they’re consuming significant amounts of alcohol, it can lead to equally devastating consequences as someone struggling with addiction.
Each year, 88,000 people lose their lives to alcohol abuse throughout the country. Death from alcohol is considered the third leading preventable cause of death and warrants more attention. It’s never too late to get the help you need.
If you’re struggling with binge drinking or drug abuse, you must reach out and get the help you need before it’s too late. As you might expect with other diseases, the sooner you take action to treat addiction, the better chances you have of survival. It is a case of life or death because alcohol and drug abuse are harmful. Some examples include:
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Consuming drugs or alcohol will likely lead to chemical dependency problems or addiction that warrant professional help. As mentioned above, drinking heavily on the weekends may not be seen as a problem, or using opioids after surgery is viewed as safe because a trusted physician prescribes them. However, social drinking can lead to depending on the substance to get through the day or using more of your prescription to feel “normal.” Despite the severity of the issue, no one should ever feel like they can’t admit help is needed.
Fortunately, Massachusetts offers the level of care you’d expect from a state ravaged by drug and alcohol addiction. Facility-guided programs will offer the help necessary for those committed to achieving sobriety and focused on the recovery process. The benefits of treatment are massive when you compare it to stopping alone.
While it may seem desirable in the short-term to kick your addiction to drugs or alcohol cold-turkey, it’s not a feasible route when attempting to overcome triggers or environments that are not sober friendly. Not only is it challenging, but it can be dangerous because withdrawal symptoms can be fatal. Most will relapse without the right help.
Drug and alcohol treatment in Massachusetts must never take a single approach, meaning it has to consider each client’s unique issues individually. Drug and alcohol treatment has to meet all needs to be successful, and effective treatment will follow the continuum of care. If a client is diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, a dual diagnosis program must be followed to treat both issues simultaneously.
NIDA states that treatment must last for a minimum of 90 days to achieve maximum effectiveness. Many programs exist, including on-site residential and outpatient care. Each case will be dependent on the client’s background and history with drug or alcohol use. All programs will consist of counseling and guided programs, and some may include the use of medications to help overcome the worst symptoms they may face post-use.
Following through with drug and alcohol treatment in Massachusetts could save your life. Don’t wait and get the help you need.
NIDA. (2020, June 3). How long does drug addiction treatment usually last? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-does-drug-addiction-treatment-usually-last
SAMHSA (2016-2017) Massachusetts. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHsaeSpecificStates2017B/NSDUHsaeMassachusetts2017.pdf
CDC (2019, December 30) Binge Drinking. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
NIDA. (2020, April 3). Massachusetts: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/massachusetts-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms
NIDA (2020, March 10) Overdose Death Rates. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates