Massachusetts, often called the Bay State, is a picturesque historical state situated on the East Coast of the United States. Overall, residents of Massachusetts struggle with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction at rates similar to the rest of the nation with a few exceptions. The state has also had major issues with prescription opioids, with many people dying each year owing to fatal overdoses.
The National Review reports that close to one out of every four residents of Massachusetts has been directly impacted by the opioid overdose epidemic; 25 percent of residents of the Bay State have lost a loved one to a fatal opioid overdose.
Seventy percent of residents surveyed report the opioid crisis as one of the most serious problems the state faces, and nearly everyone knows someone battling opioid addiction.
The Massachusetts DPH publishes that close to 2,000 residents died from an opioid overdose in 2017, most of which (83 percent of confirmed opioid overdoses recorded where a toxicology screen was available) involved the drug Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid that has been invading the streets of the United States, especially the Eastern Seaboard recently.
Over 50 times more potent than heroin and absorbable through skin contact, Fentanyl is being manufactured in illicit laboratories, and it often used to "cut" and stretch other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and counterfeit prescription medications.
The 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment reports that Massachusetts had the second highest number of Fentanyl reports in the United States for the calendar year (CY) 2016 at close to 4,000 law enforcement encounters and incidents.
The Boston University (BU) School of Public Health publishes that there were nearly 12,000 people treated by emergency personnel for opioid-related causes in 2015. Many of these incidents were overdoses and required the administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone to reverse them.
In around one-third of all cases where naloxone was administered, it had to be given more than one time, largely due to the presence of Fentanyl and its elevated potency requiring more of the reversal drug to be effective.
In 2014, the Massachusetts DPH reports that over half (53.1 percent) of all addiction treatment admissions to programs contracted under the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) cited heroin as the primary drug of abuse. More than 100,000 Massachusetts residents were served by BSAS-contracted substance abuse programs for FY 2014.
The second most cited primary substance of abuse was alcohol at 31.9 percent of treatment admissions followed by all other opioids at 5.8 percent, marijuana at 4 percent, cocaine and crack cocaine at 3.4 percent, and other drugs at 1.7 percent.
In 2009-2010, Massachusetts was one of the top ten states for rates in several drug-use categories, including: past-month illicit drug use among young adults age 18-25; past-month marijuana use among young adults age 18-25; illicit drug dependence among persons age 12or older; and illicit drug dependence among young adults age 18-25.Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2009-2010.
Approximately 12.12percent of Massachusetts residents reported past-month use of illicit drugs;the national average was 8.82percent. In 2009, the rate of drug-induced deaths in Massachusetts exceeded the national average. Heroin is the most commonly cited drug among primary drug treatment admissions in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts ranked among the top ten states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths involving opioids. In 2017, there were 1,913 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in Massachusetts—a rate of 28.2 deaths per 100,000 persons, which is twofold higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
The greatest increase in opioid deaths was seen in cases involving synthetic opioids (mainly Fentanyl): a rise from 67 deaths in 2012 to 1,649 deaths in 2017. Deaths involving prescription opioids totaled 321 in 2017 and have remained steady since 2015. Heroin involved deaths decreased 25 percent over the past 2-years with a total of 466 deaths in 2017.
In 2017, Massachusetts had one of the lowest opioid prescribing rates in the United States. Providers in Massachusetts wrote 40.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions according to the CDC.
While the rate of overdose deaths involving opioid prescriptions is among the lowest in the nation, the rate has seen an overall upward trend since 1999. In the past year, however, the rate saw a soft decline to 4.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy. A recent national study revealed a fivefold increase in the incidence of NAS/NOWS between 2004 and 2014, from 1.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 8.0 cases per 1,000 hospital births.
This was at a rate of one baby born with NAS/NOWS every 15 minutes in the United States. During the same period, hospital costs for NAS/NOWS births increased from $91 million to $563 million, after adjusting for inflation. In 2015, the rate of NAS/NOWS in Massachusetts was about 14.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births.
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 710 occurred in Massachusetts. Among males, 16.1 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 20.3 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse.
In 2015, an estimated 19,665 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Massachusetts—a rate of 338 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 26.5 percent of male cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 31.5 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid abuse.
There were approximately 424 new cases of acute HCV (6.2 per 100,000 persons) reported in Massachusetts in 2016. In Massachusetts, there are an estimated 38,400 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 720 cases per 100,000 persons.
Fortunately, the state has numerous substance abuse rehabs. There are many types of treatment centers such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a vast range of drug and alcohol rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you need rehab in Massachusetts, place a call to any of the available rehab centers.
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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