Substance Abuse In Springfield, Massachusetts
Massachusetts is suffering from the very worst of the opioid epidemic, and Springfield, located in the western region of the state, is enduring the worst in the state. Springfield currently has the highest opioid-related death rate in Massachusetts.
Springfield has suffered from opioid-death rate which is 65% higher than the rest of the state in previous years. In 2013, Springfield lost 83 lives to opioids per 100,000 residents. Many of the lives that were lost were men 25-34 years of age. Unfortunately, the Springfield Hispanic community is most affected by the local opioid crisis.
Springfield’s Opioid Catastrophe
Despite the variety of substances that are abused in Springfield, opioids are by far the greatest local concern. Springfield police arrest drug dealers trafficking drugs on regular basis. In 2017, the local police responded to 368 opioid overdoses. Additionally, the police made 11 arrests and confiscated 6,700 bags of heroin. One officer seized 9 grams of raw heroin, while traffickers were arrested for possessing $100,000 worth of the deadly drug.
Prescription Drug Abuse In Springfield
Medical patients who have sustained severe injuries are often prescribed opioids like Codeine and Percocet. Springfield police have had rising concerns surrounding the prescription opioid crisis America faces, as they have seized 500 pounds of unused prescription medication in recent years. This amounted to “thousands of prescriptions” seized by authorities.
Patients may transition to cheaper alternatives from prescriptions, finding heroin available on the street for as little as $10 a bag. Once individuals discover the illicit substance is available and a substitute for a prescription medication, they begin their transition into harder drugs. Sadly, individuals can become heroin addicts after even just one use, and risk exposure to other drugs like cocaine. Some drug dealers will combine drugs like fentanyl or cocaine in heroin bags; the end result is that individuals unknowingly crave the laced heroin more frequently.
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Drug Tolerances, Drug Dependences, And Drug Addictions
An important step in considering rehab is to know whether you have a tolerance, dependency, or an addiction. All are potentially harmful with destructive effects on the mind and body.
A tolerance for a substance is when the patient is accustomed to the chemical and the effects are not as strong. They require a higher dosage to get the same effect. Tolerance for chemicals often lead to a dependence; however, patients with a tolerance to a chemical can stop using the substance before a dependence begins.
A dependence is more severe; someone with a dependence not only has a tolerance, but also experiences withdrawal symptoms if they stop using. Opioid withdrawals in particular are extremely uncomfortable, and even potentially deadly.
The extreme discomfort of withdrawal symptoms can make individuals stay on the drug and develop an addiction. An addiction is a more severe dependence, which can lead addicted individuals to completely dedicate their lives to drugs and alcohol, and cause major life and personal changes. Individuals suffering from addiction have very little control over their use of alcohol or drugs.