The Opiate Epidemic
23 million American adults suffer from addiction. That number is higher when you include the suffering of families, friends, and loved ones who experience the environmental and relational effects of chemical dependence when someone they love is addicted. Societal problems, chronic pain, and the availability, prescribed and street-purchased, of inexpensive opiates – heroin, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and others – has resulted in a 6-8 fold increase in drug abuse in the last decade.
Baltimore is known for having one of the most severe drug abuse problems in Maryland and in the nation. There continues to be a significant gap between the demand for services and current treatment resources. According to SAMHSA and the State of Maryland there are an estimated 47,000 – 53,000 individuals in Baltimore City annually who need but do not receive treatment for addiction. This number is very likely much higher as this data was gathered in polls that only contacted people with landline telephones. It is not unreasonable to think the number of addicted individuals in Baltimore, which has an overall population of about 600,000, could be double the estimate.
Drug abuse and accompanying destructive behavior not only ruins the lives of the users, they leave a path of devastation of those around the addicts and of society in general. This is not an isolated issue; it is an epidemic.
You are not alone.
Opiate addiction has exploded nationally and regionally. In Baltimore it is estimated that as many as one in ten people are addicted to heroin. Adding in prescription drug addiction and the use of other opiates, the percentage of those suffering from abuse are staggering. And the problem is not confined to the city; it is equally devastating in the surrounding counties.
Opiate abuse is not restricted geographically, economically, racially, or by gender. Addiction reaches into all families, all races and all economic levels. The addicted include your neighbor, your friend, your coworker, your boss, your husband, your wife, your child, or you. We must face up to it and deal with it openly, and no longer hide it behind closed doors or treat it only with substitute drugs. Replacement drugs such as Methadone and Suboxone alone are not enough to break the cycle of drug-addictive life.
More Facts Concerning the Opiate Epidemic