For many years, there has been a growing drug epidemic. Crack cocaine, Marijuana and Heroin to name a few. The issue is, nobody says anything until it is too late, until there is another overdose, and another family is torn apart. In Massachusetts alone, from January 2015 to December 2016, there have been almost 2,000 opioid related deaths, which is a 26% increase from 2014. Thankfully, the number of deaths specifically related to the usage of heroin has gone down from 80% to 60%, that number is still too high, and these numbers tend to fluctuate depending on the demographic being looked at.
Photo: Osman Rana on Unsplash
There are things that can be done to continue decreasing these numbers, like funding and creating programs that are more specific to each demographic. For example, if most cases come from Veterans, then we can create a program that is tailored to fit Veterans and their experiences. In conjuncture with said program, there also needs to be open dialogue about mental health and the usage of opioids, because often, drug/substance abuse are comorbid. Once we begin to focus on the mental health of an individual, we can change the overall health of not only the individual, but the greater community.
If you or someone you know are abusing substances, there are a few things you can do. First, understand that the road to sobriety will be tough, but you can make it. Talk to a professional, or if you’re not ready to talk to a specialist first, talk to your family and friends. They’re here to help you succeed. Secondly, learn more about addiction, learn what it is, why it is, as much as you can to understand why so many people are becoming addicted. Once you understand why, you can figure out how to change and ultimately recover. Be aware that the road to recovering will not be the same for everyone; progress is progress, no matter how small it may look to others.
“Pain is the great equalizer, the cure to mental anguish, the antidote for a hopeful heart.” -David Estes, The Moon Dwellers
Dominique is currently studying Psychology at Bridgewater State University with a double minor in Middle East Studies and Music. In her spare time, she is a poet and artist. She hopes to use her voice as both a journalist and artist to empower the unheard.