Opiate addiction has been a growing problem in the United States for the past 10 years, but with new regulations limiting the prescription of addictive painkillers, the drug of choice has shifted from prescription medications to heroin. States that had formerly worked hard to limit the harm caused by painkiller addiction through statewide drug databases, increased regulations for pain clinics, and more are now turning their attention to heroin addiction in their respective states, according to USA Today.
At least 18 state legislatures have introduced new bills that directly addressed the problem of heroin abuse and addiction. Some of the bills looked at such issues as:
- Increased access to treatment for low-level heroin users or first-time offenders
- Increased access to naloxone among emergency medical providers
- Increased access to naloxone for friends and family of addicts
- Heavier penalties for heroin traffickers
Addressing Problems at Home
Different states have introduced bills or made political moves to overcome the specific problems facing their states due to increased rates of heroin abuse and addiction.
For example, Governor Peter Shumlin called Vermont’s opiate addiction issues a “full-blown heroin crisis” and said, “In every corner of our state, heroin and opiate drug addiction threatens us.”
Similarly, when the rate of opiate overdose in Massachusetts increased by more than 90 percent in 10 years, Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency in the state. To address the problem, more than $10 million was allocated in the state budget to creating a drug court program that would connect nonviolent drug offenders with the treatment that would help them heal.
The Push for Treatment
Access to effective treatment is the focus of most of the new proposals hitting state legislatures across the country. Unfortunately, in the states where heroin addiction and opiate dependence in general are the biggest problems, there is often little to choose from in the way of effective drug rehab. For this reason, many families opt for out-of-state treatment, offering their addicted loved ones the space and time to undergo thorough medical and psychotherapeutic rehabilitation so that they can get the help they need to successfully return home ready to face the challenges of sobriety.
If your family member is struggling with opiate dependence, contact us at Alta Mira now and learn more about how our uniquely designed treatment program can help.