Illicit drug use, including prescription drug addiction and abuse, is rampant among baby boomers, according to the just-released National Survey on Drug Use and Health. An earlier analysis predicted that 4.4 Americans over 50 will have addiction problems by 2020, and even more would be dealing with prescription drug addiction and abuse. It appears the predictions are coming true.
For several decades people addicted to heroin, morphine and other opiates have been put on methadone as a ‘treatment’. The problem is, methadone is an addictive drug in its own right, and the vast majority of those who are put on methadone treatment stay on he drug for years and develop a methadone addiction – which is far more difficult to eventually overcome than addiction to heroin, prescription drugs or any of the other drug addictions methadone is supposed to treat.
For many years Alabama was the 49th state on the list for dollars put into drug rehab. And even though the funding has increased, the state is playing catch up – only 25,000 of the 300,000 who need it will get through treatment this year. The problem has largely been one of quality – although they haven’t been able to measure the success of their programs, a report in the Birmingham News said that people often go through treatment four or five times. State officials are learning that successful drug addiction rehabilitation is almost impossible with short term programs.
Today I read a story in the York Daily Record about a guy who was sentenced to six years in prison on burglary charges. He was remorseful, and said the burglaries were fueled by his addiction to crack cocaine. What’s going to happen to him? In all likelihood, he’ll do his time, then go back out on the street and start the same thing all over again. And he’ll probably wind up back in prison – one more turn in a never-ending cycle. The only real hope he has of getting off the merry-go-round is a drug addiction rehabilitation program that gets down to the bottom of why he’s taking drugs.
They’re having serious drug problems in Alabama. Deaths from illegal and prescription drug addiction and abuse have risen 67% since 2000, and in two counties drug deaths have surpassed traffic accident fatalities. A story in the Birmingham News offers a rare glimpse into causes of death that often escape public view – fatalities triggered by drug overdoses, drug addiction, and deadly combinations.
WCNC TV in Charlotte, North Carolina recently did an investigation into the relationship between drug addiction and prostitution. Several of the women interviewed for the investigation said that becoming a prostitute was directly fueled by drug addiction. This opens the door to getting many women off the streets: a successful drug addiction rehabilitation program could end their drug addiction, and give them back their lives.
An epidemic is a disease that spreads rapidly in a population, and that fully describes the abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs by America’s young adults. In a few short years, the numbers of young people showing up at hospital emergency rooms, drug detox and drug addiction rehabilitation centers specializing in prescription drug addiction and abuse has skyrocketed.
You may have heard about a drug called Actiq – a berry-flavored lozenge on a stick that tastes and looks a bit like a lollipop. It was approved by the FDA for cancer patients but is being prescribed for everything from migraines to back pain, and has now found it’s way to the street. Actiq contains fentanyl, a highly-addictive drug 80 times more powerful than heroin or morphine. It is a very dangerous drug, and someone who’s using it should get into drug addiction rehabilitation as fast as possible. Here are the frightening statistics:
The need in this country for increased insurance coverage for alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation is indisputable. Drug rehab and drug detox have little or no recognition among health insurers, yet drug addiction is a major cause of ruined lives, family violence, emergency room visits, and death.
A successful drug addiction rehabilitation program saves lives. For Justice Rehnquist, it was nearly too late.