If you’ve ever seen an episode of the HBO drama The Wire, you’d probably think of Baltimore as being a cesspool of drugs and crime. A city in which the flourishing of the drug dealers is only held in contrast to the desperation of its drug users. A casual drive away from its bustling downtown area and into its less affluent residential areas may even help to reinforce the perception as seen on the show. Rows of homes, either condemned or neglected into ruin; graffiti artwork displayed prominently on structure canvas; police cameras mounted high, monitoring neighborhood intersections. Without knowing too much more about Baltimore, one might walk away with the impression that the city was not only a reflection of the state itself, but a reflection of America’s notorious failure on the war on drugs.
For years, the drug of choice for Marylanders was Heroin. But as prescription drug-abuse began to sweep the nation as the fastest growing drug problem, heroin took a short back seat. Heroin death in Baltimore dropping from 312 in 1999 to 106 in 2008. But with Federal and State authorities quickly cracking down and passing laws to curtail the availability of certain prescription drugs on the blackmarket – heroin has since seen a marked resurgence.
The first quarter of 2014 saw a 33% increase in drug overdose deaths. From January to March, the state reported 252 drug overdose deaths – 148 of which being related to heroin. The state also has seen a big increase in heroin-related emergency department visits in recent years. Up to 1,200 in Maryland last year, compared to 871 in 2012.
Part of this is attributable to the crackdown on prescription medications. Previous years have shown increasing abuse rates of those drugs, so the government worked with law enforcement and doctors in the medical community to decrease the prescribing rates/availability of prescription medications. Doctors are now much more vigilant about watching for drug-seeking behavior and not over-prescribing, and there are systems in place to determine if patients have been receiving medication elsewhere. Getting access to these drugs illegally is also much more difficult. The decrease in availability of prescription medications in the illegal drug market has made them much more expensive. Part of the rise in heroin use is the result of this, as it is now cheaper and easier to obtain but still maintains the opiate addiction.
If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol, there is hope for recovery. Contact an admissions specialist at Serenity Acres today.