Although there are many substances of abuse in Maryland, none are quite as common as prescription medications. This is largely because this class of drugs is technically legal and widely available through pharmacies and prescriptions all across the state.
Over the past few years, they have caused the scope and scale of the drug epidemic to change for the entire state of Maryland. This is because many more people now abuse prescription drugs than used to happen some years ago.
All across the United States, the non-medical use of prescription medications - particularly opioids - has been a growing public health epidemic. Further, many people have been abusing both prescription and illicit opioids, leading to an increase in the rates of drug overdoses reported in the country.
In 2016, for instance, it was estimated that between 59,000 and 65,000 fatalities were linked to a drug overdose incident. This problem has also been growing into one of the main reasons why many people aged below 50 years have been losing their lives. The trends in Maryland are no different.
However, prescription drug abuse and addiction are not the only problems plaguing the state of Maryland. Many people who are addicted to prescription drugs often transition to other hard drugs like heroin and fentanyl, which create similar effects.
Among these people, some taking drugs intravenously. In the process, they increase their risk of developing other conditions over and above their prescription drug use and addiction problems.
These conditions include drug overdose, soft tissue and skin infections, blood-borne viruses like hepatitis C and HIV, and infective endocarditis, as well as indirect links with the criminal justice system.
In recent years, the rising popularity of synthetic opioids like fentanyl have caused a growing problem in Maryland. This drug has been responsible for the rise in the number of overdose deaths reported among local substance abusers.
In 2015, for instance, the state lost 21 lives due to a drug overdose among every segment of 100,000 people. This number increased to 36 deaths among a similar segment of people.
The largest city, Baltimore, has also been reporting the highest rates of intravenous substance abuse as well as among the highest rates of drug overdose that end up in fatal outcomes in the entire United States.
It is estimated, for instance, that more than 25,000 people out of the total population of 621,000 residents of Baltimore struggle with opioid use disorders. Among these people, more than 20,000 report that they use heroin on a regular basis.
Historically, intravenous drug use was concentrated in West and East Baltimore City. However, recent research studies have shown that there are shifts moving away from this area. This is due to the rising number of people in the suburbs of Baltimore County who report injecting drugs.
That said, the state of Maryland witnessed a spike in the number of drug related fatalities reported in 2016. That year, it lost 2089 lives to a drug overdose. This figure was an increase of 66 percent from the total 1259 lives that it lost the previous year.
The office of the State Medical Examiner is also likely to lose its licenses and accreditation. This is because it has failed to clear drug overdose autopsies in good time and according to set professional standards. It is also one of the reasons why the state governor declared a public health crisis in 2017.
This epidemic was mostly as a result of the increasing rates of opioid use and abuse reported in Maryland. Most of these rates were driven up by fentanyl and heroin abuse among local residents.
Apart from Baltimore, Appalachia and the Eastern Shore have both witnessed an increase in the number of drug related overdoses that led to death. These deaths have devastated and shocked communities and families alike.
Drug networks have also been expanding in Maryland. As a result, cocaine is widely available all across the state, including those areas that are outside the main cities in the state.
Today, an increasing number of opioid users often mix cocaine with prescription opioids, fentanyl, and heroin in a process referred to as speed-balling. The process is quite common all across the state but it seems that it has become even more popular in recent years. This is because of the effects that the users are able to derive from the combination of drugs that they create into speedballs.
All these trends have been stressing emergency workers and healthcare providers across the state. EMTs and firefighters are often the first responders to a prescription drug overdose case. In recent years, they have reported that deaths arising from these situations have been on the rise.
Further, the state has a growing prescription drug abuse problem that is being fueled by the increase in the number of prescriptions that doctors have been writing for their patients for various conditions.
Today, many homes have powerful prescription medications. In 2016, for instance, it was reported that doctors wrote out more than 7 million prescriptions for an opioid drug, a number that was more than the total population of the state.
The good news is that it is possible to overcome a prescription drug use and addiction problem. This is because there are several high quality accredited addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs in place within the state.
These programs include both outpatient and inpatient addiction recovery centers, and they can help you achieve a state of full sobriety from your prescription drug abuse problem in Maryland.
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.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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