Fighting the Heroin Epidemic

Fighting the Heroin Epidemic

In many areas across the United States, heroin has taken over the streets as the main drug of choice. In 2014 alone, there were 10,000 deaths from drug overdoses! We have seen a rise in heroin users in our own treatment center over the years. As the use has spread and grown in numbers, cities have gotten
creative with their approaches to fighting the heroin addiction epidemic. The usual law-and-order response is effective, but more measures have been developed to fight the power of the opioid addiction from different angles, because the users have begun to use variations as well. Fentanyl and Carfentanil in particular caused a string of deaths in September of 2016 since using a few granules the size of a grain of salt can be lethal.

There are many who believe that medical marijuana should be made legal for heroin addiction treatment because it could help people quit using altogether. There are a growing number of people who are claiming that marijuana helped them to stop using prescription medications, often because of marijuana’s pain-relieving effects. A study published early in 2016 in the Journal of Pain found that opioid users significantly reduced their use when taking medical cannabis.

Treating addicts instead of arresting them is another approach that many cities are trying to implement around America. The idea is that the police should push non-violent drug offenders into addiction treatment instead of sending them to jail. This has already been implemented in cities like Seattle, where police officers can send non-violent drug offenders to social service programs instead of jail. West Virginia, New Mexico and Massachusetts are experimenting with similar programs.

Another more controversial approaching to fighting the heroin addiction epidemic is the use of Naloxone. Naloxone is a medication in the form of a nasal spray that actually blocks the effects of an opioid overdose. It is typically used by first responders to save someone overdosing on opioids. In 2015 in Baltimore, it is now legal for anyone to be able to have access to Naloxone. Inmates and drug users are also able to participate in Naloxone training.

Safe injection sites are already set up in many areas in Europe and Canada and have been for some time. In these safe injection sites, opioid addicts can use a small amount of heroin at a time in a safe environment. Some of these sites also allow opioid addicts to come when they are already high to have a space place to be instead of out on the street. This approach is also highly controversial, since many say that it could create more addicts than it helps, though advocates claim it could keep people alive long enough to seek addiction treatment.

Prescribing heroin has actually become a widely used alternative as well. This particular method allows doctors to prescribe a very small amount of pharmaceutical-grade heroin to addicts. But this strategy is only supposed to be used for addicts who have tried and failed many times to get into addiction recovery. But those who oppose this alternative say that it is doing nothing to help people recover and that methadone clinics are safer.

Increasing the number of treatment centers, especially treatment centers that use medications like Suboxone that ease withdrawal symptoms and actually suppress cravings for opioids. The Obama administration actually increased the number of patients that a physician can treat with Suboxone from 100 to 275.

Here at New Life Addiction Treatment Center, we have a specific program designed to help those suffering from heroin addiction. We understand that it is a devastating, powerful drug, which is why we have created several different treatment options for heroin alone. We are available 24/7, so please call us at any time at (855) 658-0035 to begin your journey to addiction recovery today!

Sources:

  • https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  • https://www.drugs.com/fentanyl.html
  • http://www.wsj.com/articles/seattle-lead-program-to-keep-offenders-out-of-jail-draws-nationwide-interest-1437434693

 

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