The Epidemic of Heroin Use in New Hampshire
New Hampshire is currently experiencing high levels of heroin addiction, but it is in no way unique. Across the US the number of cases of heroin addiction and overdoses is on the rise. New Hampshire is just one state where the numbers are reaching new highs with 400 deaths in 2015 directly related to drugs. This is twice the number reported in 2013 and it shows no signs of slowing.
Heroin addiction is experienced across every demographic. In 2014 the US Department of Health and Human Services in the state reported that access to treatment for substance abuse was one of the lowest in the nation. Only one other state ranked lower. A survey by the University of New Hampshire and WMUR, reported that almost 50% of respondents knew someone who had used heroin. The problem is spiraling upwards and is now firmly on the nation’s radar. This is raising questions of how addiction is viewed: Stigmatizing drug use has done nothing to alleviate the problem and it is time to start dealing with it for what it is; a health crisis.
Why is there more Heroin Use in New Hampshire?
Heroin abuse has traditionally been seen as one of the most deadly drugs and was, therefore, more widely avoided. The latest problem has arisen because of an increasing problem of addiction to prescription painkillers. Many people become addicted to these drugs because they are easily available, often obtaining them from other people if they are not prescribed them, often using them inappropriately and increasing the dose. Over time a tolerance develops eventually leading to dependency.
These painkillers are diploids like heroin so if a person then finds it hard to find the prescription medication it is a small step to make the transition to heroin which is easy to obtain and cheap in comparison. One Oxycodone pill has a street value of $100; with 10 doses or heroin costing about the same. Economically the shift will make sense especially if tolerance means the user needs more and more of the drug to get by.
Accessing Treatment for The Epidemic of Heroin Use in New Hampshire
Withdrawing from opioids produces some very unpleasant, dangerous and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Going “cold turkey” is often ineffective and it is also unsafe. Initial withdrawal must take place in a safe environment with medical supervision so that if the person has a problem treatment is immediately available.
Looking at the reasons why someone became heroin-addicted is vital. For example, if they were abusing prescribed painkillers the underlying problem should be dealt with. Any co-existing disorders that may have led to substance abuse have to be treated alongside any additional treatment plan, including mental health disorders. The best form of treatment looks at the person holistically, treating the underlying causes of the addiction, the symptoms of withdrawal and help the person to develop adequate coping mechanisms.
If you think someone you love has an addiction to heroin here are some of the more common signs to look for:
- Paraphernalia: Small glass pipes, burnt spoons, tiny bags, syringes and needles, rubber tubing, sticky residues (usually dark in color).
- Physical and behavioral signs: Constantly runny nose, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, flushed skin, scratching, poor hygiene, wearing long sleeves even when the weather is hot (to cover needle marks)
Alongside heroin addiction comes a lack of insight into how the drug is damaging their health and quality of life. The longer a person is addicted the more obtaining and using the drug becomes the central part of their existence and the worse their physical health will become.
Some heroin addicts may seek help but most are justifiably fearful of the withdrawal and may also worry about exposure and rejection. If you can learn about the signs of abuse you may be able to detect a problem and help the individual get treatment. With a proper treatment program it is possible to put the drug behind them and move on to a happier, healthier and more productive life. If you want to help a loved one escape the Epidemic of Heroin Use in New Hampshire it might be a good idea to consider treatment and the father away, the better. The Last House is located in sunny Los Angeles, California.
If you would like to seek help for yourself or a loved one Contact The Last House and speak to one of our admission counselors.