Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Substance Abuse and Treatment in Boston, Massachusetts


Drug & Alcohol Rehab Centers in Boston are here to help begin your recovery!

Boston is a stunning destination for residents and visitors alike. With an estimated population of 687, 584 and median household income of $44, 262, the city is home to notable sites associated with the American Revolution.

Together with the popular attractions, there’s a darker side to the famed city. The opioid epidemic has swept Boston, taking more than 600 lives because of overdose deaths. Massachusetts Avenue, dubbed “Methadone Mille” is infamous for hosting open drug trades and deals once the sun sets.

Alcoholism and drug addiction aren’t strange to the city as well. Regrettably, drug addiction doesn’t obtain the same kind of public attention in Boston as other less very stigmatized medical issues like the flu epidemic.

Numerous people still perceive addiction as an option and feel that addicts brought it on themselves. However, there’s hope for persons suffering from drug addiction and abuse who wish to seek help.

With more than 30 facilities specializing in medical detox, stabilization, and drug rehabilitation, you don’t have to travel far to obtain professional help. Bear in mind that researching the suitable rehab that suits your needs best is vital to a successful recovery.

Heroin Epidemic in Boston

Some assert that the increasing use of prescription painkillers derives from their abundance. Some, however, attribute the heroin increase to more strict policies on prescription opiates, coupled with changes to the drug’s physical composition that makes their preparation difficult for illicit use. Both of these may be the case.

As the country became flooded with the prescriptions, individuals had superior access and started using them illicitly, several of whom developed addictions. Some individuals may have started using the drugs as described by doctors, only to discover they required more to manage pain.

After some time, the user may have shifted from medically approved use to illicit use. Irrespective of how an individual began, as stringent standards emerged to protect against illicit use, several of the people shifted to heroin to supplement their addiction and craving.

In many instances, the drug had greater accessibility and a cheaper cost. These factors are responsible for setting the stage for drug abuse that escalated into the present addiction outbreak that’s crippling the state, nation, and the greater Boston region.

Another reason behind the prevalence of heroin within several various social sects is the dropping cost. Previously, the drug was renowned as somewhat costly, but it’s presently at costs that make it easier to acquire in the frequency and amounts that increase drug use, overdose, and addiction.

Furthermore, the drug has become purer over the past decades, enabling those who might be apprehensive about using it by injection to use the drug by smoking or snorting.

The Opioid Epidemic in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is presently facing an epidemic of opioid-related death and overdose. The underlying chronic syndrome of opioid addiction or disorders associated with opioid use drive these overdoses. Therefore, persons with opioid addiction face a high risk of death and overdose.

In 2015, opioid-related deaths were over four times higher than in 2000. The current increase rate is numerous times faster than seen before. In 2013-2014, opioid-related deaths took place in two-thirds of the towns and cities in Massachusetts.  

The opioid-related death rate in Massachusetts has exceeded the national average, with a particularly sharp increase in the past years. Actually, 2014 was the first year since 1999 that the Bay State’s fatal overdose rate more than doubled the national average.

Although opioid-related deaths have increased nationwide throughout that period, the circumstance in the Commonwealth has especially become worrying. In one way or the other-through nonfatal overdoses, deaths, or disruptions to marriages, families, and jobs, the growing crisis has affected every community in MA.

In light of the emergent public medical problem, the Commonwealth of MA took an exceptional deep dive into accessible data on opioid-related deaths to explore the crisis. As part of a multi-faceted endeavor to battle the epidemic, the Legislature passed Chapter 55 and signed it into law in 2015. The law enables the analysis of various government datasets to direct policy decisions and understand the opioid epidemic better.

Increase of Addiction

Data from the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services or BSAS reveals a growing need for related treatment in Massachusetts. In 2000, approximately 1/3 of admissions to substance abuse programs and treatment centers were opioid-related.

By 2015, the figure had grown to over half, surpassing alcohol as the most rampant substance recorded by BSAS during treatment intake. The HPC or Health Policy Commission recorded comparable figures for hospitalizations and emergency room visits throughout that time.

Together with the increase in demand for treating opioid use nationwide and in MA, there’s been a rise in opioid-related overdoses, both nonfatal and fatal. Opioids are very potent drugs that have changed the way the medical care world manages and treats pain.

However, their potency makes them dangerous if misused. To comprehend the opioid epidemic, it’s vital to recognize how illicit substances and legal prescription drugs affect the Massachusetts crisis.

Prescription Problems Persist

The number of opioids prescribed to Massachusetts residents has grown roughly 7% yearly since 2000. In 2015, almost 1 in 6 MA residents acquired an opioid prescription from a medical care provider. On average, those obtaining prescriptions acquired over three filled prescriptions.

Data reveals that approximately 8 in 12 persons who died from opioids between 2013 and 2014 had a prescription at some point from 2011-2014. It’s important to note that opioid-related deaths started rising sharply in 2012 and no comparable increase in opioid prescriptions took place. This implies that no single medical practice or substance is exclusively responsible for the present opioid crisis. Rather, the issue is complex with various contributing factors.

Illicit Opioids

When it comes to illicit opioids, Massachusetts is experiencing a dangerous blend of trends. Some persons are shifting from legal to illicit opioid use, probably due to addiction and dependence developing past prescribed thresholds.

Simultaneously, the accessibility of illicit drugs is intensifying across the area.  According to reports from 2013-2014, heroin was discovered in over 60% of opioid-related deaths. Data further reveals that Fentanyl is playing a role in the crisis.

The opioid is typically a prescription medication for pain management. However, its illegal use takes place on its own or in combination with heroin, frequently without the user’s knowledge.

According to DEA reports, illegally manufactured Fentanyl could be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. The opioid is increasingly becoming a problem in the U.S., and especially in MA. Toxicology data also indicates that it’s adding to MA’s lethal epidemic than heroin.

Demographics of Opioid Use in Massachusetts

Opioid addiction does not discriminate and the Massachusetts crisis affects persons from various backgrounds. The epidemic’s prevalent nature makes tackling it a particularly challenging task because the course of opioid addiction has varied starting points from individual to individual.

Although definite resolutions might be unknown, recognizing how this epidemic plays out among various societal sections can help MA discover ways to address the problem effectively and strongly.

  • Young People

The endeavor to battle the opioid epidemic in MA is also a battle for protecting future generations. The proportion of opioid-related deaths for varying age groups shows that the young individuals of MA are particularly at risk.

From 2013-2014, opioids were responsible for over ¼ of all fatalities in the 18-24 age group. For persons between 25 and 34, opioids accounted for over 1/3 of all deaths, increasing to over 40% for men in that group. In 2015, approximately 2 out of every 3 persons who died from opioids were below age 45.

Heroin Addiction in Massachusetts

The addiction struggle in Massachusetts has revolved around heroin abuse for a long time. The emergency rooms statewide record four times the number of heroin cases in comparison with the rest of the country. In neighborhoods such as Charlestown, the rate of overdoses was so severe that the communities joined to expel dealers and pump finances into the addicts’ treatment.

The small district recorded 40 overdoses per year between 2003 and 2006. Across MA, heroin is the most prevalent threat. But unlike in the past, numerous citizens have taken a new route to heroin addiction. Like several other parts of the nation, the abuse of prescription drugs has been increasing in MA.

Several of the controlled prescription medications that people commonly abuse are synthetics, opioids, or opium derivatives that give highs resembling heroin: Vicodin, OxyContin, morphine, and others. Users may shift to heroin when financially constrained since heroin is cheaper and frequently more accessible.

The increase in heroin use in this region has to do with economics. Those that became prescription drug addicts find heroin a cheaper option; this has developed a new generation of addicts.

Drug addiction in Boston isn’t just confined to the inner cities. Suburban children who become hooked on purportedly “safe” prescription medications ultimately turn to heroin when they can’t obtain or afford their preferred drug. As a result, suburban addiction is increasing crime in wealthy neighborhoods.

Dangerously high purity heroin levels are contributing to Boston’s drug addiction as well. The purer the drug is, the increase in addiction and overdoses. In 2007, the state medical officials initiated a 12-city pilot plan that concentrated on Narcan use.

Narcan can block opiates’ effects, restoring an overdose victim from the verge of death. Members of the police and fire department now carry it in the form of an inhalant. This has led to the reduction of the transportation of overdose victims to emergency rooms.

Opioid Overdoses

According to reports, almost 2,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016 in MA in spite of the prevalent private and public campaigns to stanch the addiction crisis statewide. A public medical report revealed that opioids were the cause of 1, 465 deaths and suspected in 514 extra deaths.

The major culprit seemed to be fentanyl, which was evident in a growing number of cases even with the decline of heroin-related deaths. Earlier this month, officials from Lowell, MA issued a warning to its residents after 20 overdoses occurred in three days.

Reports reveal that city officials issued a warning, expressing their concerns over the sale of a potentially deadly heroin or fentanyl batch in the region. Fortunately, none of the cases was fatal, even though several of the victims experienced timely revival because of life-saving Narcan.

Nevertheless, reports indicate that a 10% reduction of opioid-related overdose deaths took place in the initial nine months last year compared to a similar period the previous year.

Treatment and Addiction

Heroin addiction treatment is frequently a frustrating process for sufferers. After all, heroin addicts are more likely to report previous addiction treatment endeavors when they’re being admitted into a rehab-some report as many as five or more previous endeavors.

When compared to other opioids, heroin addicts have a higher likelihood of returning to rehab treatment than seeking first-time treatment. More effective rehabilitation facilities are necessary for residential or outpatient treatment to help the state’s residents.

It’s extremely difficult for any heroin addict to get over heroin addiction on his or her own because of the psychological and physical addiction. However, the physical aspect is by far the most difficult to get through.

The withdrawal period is extremely difficult to get through, which is why numerous facilities in MA specialize in helping addicted persons get through the symptoms of withdrawal. Detox programs and heroin treatments are very necessary. Heroin remains a huge problem in the state, so treatments play a huge role in the solution.

Treatment Approaches for Heroin Addiction

Various treatments are accessible for heroin addiction, including pharmacological and behavioral. Both treatment approaches help restore a degree of normalcy to behavior and brain function, leading to enhanced employment rates, a lower rate of criminal behavior, and HIV risk.

While pharmacologic and behavioral treatments can be very beneficial when used alone, research reveals that incorporating both kinds of treatments is the most efficient approach for some persons.

Pharmacologic Treatment

According to research, treating opioid addiction with pharmacologic approaches enhances retention in treatment plans and reduces drug use, criminal activity, and the transmission of infectious disease. When persons addicted to opioids quit initially, potentially severe withdrawal symptoms arise.

In this case, medications can be beneficial in the detoxification phase to alleviate craving and other physical signs, which frequently prompt an individual to relapse. Although it’s not an addiction treatment itself, detox is a beneficial first step when followed by some type of evidence-based treatment.

Medications for treating opioid addiction function through similar opioid receptors as the addiction-causing drug. However, they’re safer and have a less likelihood of producing the detrimental behaviors that typify addiction. Three kinds of medications comprise

  1. agonists, which trigger opioid receptors
  2.  partial agonists, which trigger opioid receptors but generate a smaller response
  3. antagonists that disrupt opioids’ rewarding effects. A medical professional will administer a specific medication depending on a patient’s health needs and other factors. Effective medications comprise:
  • Methadone

The administration of the slow-acting agonist occurs orally in order to reach the brain gradually, reducing the “high” that takes place with other administration routes while preventing symptoms of withdrawal. Since the 60s, medical professionals have used methadone in the treatment of heroin addiction and it’s still a great treatment option, especially for patients who respond poorly to other medications. Bear in mind that the medication is only accessible through approved treatment programs.

  • Buprenorphine

The partial agonist alleviates drug cravings without generating the “high” or harmful side effects. Suboxone is a new formulation of buprenorphine that’s taken sublingually or orally and comprises naloxone to avoid attempts to get high through injection of the medication.

  • Naltrexone

The opioid antagonist hinders the opioids’ action. It’s not sedating or addictive and doesn’t lead to physical dependence. However, patients frequently experience trouble with treatment compliance thereby limiting its efficiency.

Behavioral Therapies

The numerous efficient behavioral therapies accessible for heroin addiction can apply in residential and outpatient settings. Research indicates that approaches, for instance, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management are effective in treating heroin addiction.

Contingency management is a system in which you earn “points” depending on the negative tests, which you can swap for items that promote healthy living. CBT seeks to help modify your behaviors and expectations associated with drug use and enhance your skills in coping with different life stressors. A significant task is matching the suitable treatment approach to meet the patient’s particular needs.

Inpatient Treatment Program

An addict will usually need to spend a period in an inpatient facility before he or she’s ready to work on maintaining abstinence from heroin use and sober living. This program is suitable for anybody with serious physical heroin dependence and has previously attempted to quit. The programs are usually at least 90 days and comprise around-the-clock support and monitoring in an environment that prohibits alcohol or drug use.

Outpatient Program

An outpatient program is suitable for persons with a milder case of addiction. During treatment, the person will continue receiving counseling and support but will still maintain an ordinary work or home routine.

Although this treatment approach can work, it’s most efficient when the addict initially seeks the expert assistance of an inpatient program before shifting to a more relaxed setting in outpatient care.

What to Consider in a Boston Rehabilitation Facility

If you reside in Boston, MA and are suffering from drug addiction, you’ve probably begun looking into the area’s rehab centers. Going to a rehab facility is a significant first phase to getting sober and clean. Nevertheless, you must select the appropriate one. Here’s a list of things to look for in a Boston rehabilitation facility.

Safe Detox

It’s crucial to find a facility that understands the significance of a comfortable and safe detox. Although detoxification is difficult, going through the process in a monitored environment, where professionals will make you as safe and comfortable as possible can make the process much easier.

Dual Diagnosis

Not all Boston treatment facilities focus on getting to the source of substance abuse issues. Your chosen facility should understand that in numerous cases, mental health problems could contribute to substance abuse issues.

By focusing on dual diagnosis, the facility’s professionals will help you identify why you might be more vulnerable to substance abuse. Furthermore, trained experts will work with you to establish whether you might have mental issues that need addressing. This will help you in several areas of your life even after leaving rehab.

Personalized Treatments

You’re an individual with unique problems, needs, and it’s important you receive such treatment. An ideal facility shouldn’t just put every client through a similar recovery program because not everybody requires the same thing.

Instead, the facility should place a major focus on your individual needs so you can maintain a drug-free life.

Support System

Recovering from drug addiction takes considerable hard work and commitment on your part. However, this doesn’t imply that you should do it on your own. Rather, you should have a solid support system, which is vital to your success. When choosing a facility, ensure it has knowledgeable and caring personnel who can offer advice when needed.

Encouragement for a Drug-free Future

A number of facilities concentrate on getting clients clean without much emphasis on the future. Yet, addiction recovery goes beyond the rehab facility. The facility should give you the necessary tools to help you battle addiction once you leave the confines of the rehab facility.

In spite of the increasing heroin epidemic that continues to plague Boston, the neighboring cities, and the state, the emergence of various public programs offers hope to the numerous addicts seeking a drug-free life.