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Opiates are some of the most notorious drugs within our contemporary society. While opiates such as painkillers have extremely valuable purposes, such as easing painful conditions, they can also be immensely addictive. This has led a multitude of individuals to develop addictions and dependencies to these drugs, sometimes unintentionally. Many also end up graduating to heroin from painkillers, with it also being an opiate and offering similar effects as those of painkillers. This is particularly noticeable in the Northeast, such as the region of New England. This area has been seeing an exponential increase in the use and abuse of opiates. Due to this, it has been labeled as an epidemic at this point.
One of the most prevalent substances within this epidemic has been heroin. Heroin used to be thought of purely as a substance that was relegated to hardcore addicts and junkies, but this is no longer the case. Individuals of all classes, race, and age are falling into the grips of heroin. Heroin is no longer only an issue of those on the streets. In fact, heroin deaths have been escalating heavily over the past decade. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “As heroin use has increased, so have heroin-related overdose deaths. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013.” This is one of the factors that has prompted the need for a change in operating basis of how addiction is handled.
The epidemic of heroin and other opiates has reached such an extent in the Northeast that the United States has arranged to have a large fund appropriated to a group of 5 areas to help address this issue. While the United States already spends about 25.1 billion dollars a year to combat drug use, this portion of money, specifically 2.5 million, will be funneled toward the purpose of handling this particular region. The money is specifically directed for hiring more public health and public safety coordinators. The Washington Post states, “The new effort, proposed by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, one of 28 such federally funded law enforcement initiatives nationwide, seeks to address those problems by hiring 15 drug intelligence officers and 15 health policy analysts who will collect overdose data, find patterns and get intelligence about trafficking trends to street-level law enforcement far more quickly than the current system allows.” This is being done in an attempt to change the direction away from punishment of addicts and toward getting them into treatment.
Punishment of Addicts Versus Treatment
Switching the focus from punishment to treatment of addicts is extremely important. The fund aims for a cooperation between law enforcement and public health officials which is something that has not been typical over the years. Addiction has been generally treated as a criminal offense due to possession of illicit substances or illegal behavior due to their use. Addiction is a condition that responds to treatment, not imprisonment. In fact, imprisonment often does nothing for addicts, mostly due to the fact that they are not receiving any treatment for their condition while imprisoned. When an addict has not received any treatment as part of their legal sentence, they generally end up turning back to using as soon as they are released or shortly after.
While this money is a small amount when compared to the overall spending of the United States for combatting drugs, it could go miles in assisting these specific areas. The money is being poured into what are considered high drug trafficking areas, and these are the epicenters that need to be addressed to begin to handle further out communities as well. While this may seem like a small effort, it is the first step in a hopeful handling of the issue. The fact that the issue is receiving more of the attention that it needs is progress as it is, being that it has been essentially neglected for some time. While there were small efforts to handle it, the attempted handlings mostly resided in the realm of criminal justice.
When Seeking Help for an Addiction
When someone is struggling with an addiction, getting them into treatment is of the utmost importance. Since addiction can ravage all aspects of a person’s life, getting them help as soon as possible allows for a way to stop the steady decline. Finding the right treatment center to fit the individual and their particular needs is a vital factor. We are here to assist with that. Our advisors have helped many people to find the ideal treatment center. Give us a call today and we will help find you or your loved one the perfect private inpatient treatment center.