The problems linked with substance abuse - particularly involving prescription medications - have not escaped Louisiana. The state now has multiple state agencies and key advisors working to reduce the rates of prescription drug abuse.
Research studies show that the total number of prescription opioids have more than quadrupled in the United States since 1999. In 2015, more than 300 million prescriptions were written for this class of drugs. this goes to show that the United States consumes close to 80 percent of the global supply of opioids.
This is why it is not exactly surprising that the country has been struggling with an epidemic involving prescription opioids - something that is clear also in states like Louisiana. In 2014, for instance, the nation lost more than 28,000 lives to a drug overdose involving opioids. of this number, more than 50 percent were linked to prescription opioids.
Other figures have shown that Louisiana is among the top 10 American states with high rates of drug overdoses. Every year, the state loses approximately 780 lives to a prescription drug overdose. Further, it is reported that it is among the top 8 states in which doctors write more prescriptions for opioids than there are residents.
The sale of prescription drugs by medical professionals, outright theft, and prescription fraud are the primary ways through which most people divert or obtain pharmaceutical drugs for illicit use.
In the southern part of the state, healthcare providers, pharmacists, and law enforcement officials have reported that the growing prescription drug abuse crisis is fueled by the increasing number of doctors who only write prescriptions just to earn money.
The police have also reported that people with valid prescriptions for certain medications sell their surplus supplies so that they can make some more money in the process. Other law enforcement officials report that most of the illicit prescription drug distributors in Louisiana often get their medications from neighboring Mexico before bringing them into the state.
Like many other states, Louisiana has been struggling with widespread substance abuse and addiction issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - the CDC - the state suffered an increase of more than 14 percent in terms of the number of drug overdoses that ended up in fatalities from 2015 to 2016.
According to the Office of Public Health, the state has been releasing data about drug abuse and addiction. Through this data, various stakeholders have been able to help reduce this crisis.
Among the prescription drugs that are commonly abused in Louisiana, OxyContin comes to mind. A powerful opioid pain relief medication, it is quite common all across the state. However, it is mostly popular in the southeastern parishes of the state.
In St. Bernard Parish, OxyContin is often referred to as killers. It has become so popular that it even rivals other illicit drugs like cocaine especially with regards to its involvement in violence and crime.
Liquid bars are prescription cough syrup medications that contain hydrocodeine. Also known as bars, they are created by combining juice or cola with prescription cough syrup. This drug is now quite popular in parts of the state, especially in the areas around Alexandria.
The drug is a depressant. Most people abuse it alongside other substances like alcohol and marijuana to ensure that they get the best of all the drugs that they are taking - since the effects are heightened due to drug mixing.
Today, liquid bars are increasingly popular across the state of Louisiana. This could be, in part, due to the fact that it is often featured in rap videos and songs, as well as in other pop culture media forms.
A legitimate dose of Tussionex - the drug used to create liquid bars - is sold for around $14 for an ounce. However, on the street, it is sold for anywhere between $30 and $40 for a similar amount.
Law enforcement officials in Louisiana report that most of the users of this drug head to Houston because several doctors in the city run pill mills or cough syrup mills to offset the growing demand for the drug.
However, these are not the only pharmaceuticals that are commonly diverted in Louisiana. Other substances include Carisoprodol (Soma), a powerful muscle relaxant as well as powerful pain relief medications like Darvocet, Dilaudid, Lorcet, Vicodin, and Xanax. Codeine and Valium are also popular in the state.
To counter the growing prescription drug abuse crisis, various statewide agencies, partners, and private agencies have been working at creating new prevention strategies for the state.
These partners work collaboratively by sharing resources as well as by ensuring that services are not duplicated in the course of preventing the substance abuse and addiction crisis from getting out of hand in the state.
However, data from Louisiana continues showing that the state still has a growing need for addiction prevention services. This is because young people report high rates of substance abuse than elsewhere in the United States.
Further, substance abuse rates among young people in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades have also been on the rise. This is according to a research study released through the Monitoring the Future Survey.
If you have been abusing prescription drugs, it is recommended that you seek help from a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation center. There are many such centers in Louisiana - including both inpatient and outpatient facilities - and they can guide you down the road to full recovery from your substance abuse and addiction.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
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