police officers and addiction hotlinesWith all of the devastation that is caused thanks to the nation’s actual opiate, epidemic, (as labeled by the CDC), there has been a lot of work done all across the nation to try to curb these issues and slow them down or drop them back in some way.  Some efforts have been successful, while others have not been that great.  One of the very successful methods for helping struggling addicts though has been the inception of toll free, 24/7 addiction help hotlines.  These hotlines can be called by an addict or by a concerned family member or loved one any time of the day or night, and they can instantly be talking to a qualified and trained individual who can help the caller find as good rehab center for the addict to go to.

Now, police stations are even manning hotlines, as police offices and stations are generally opened and manned around the clock.  For example, one program in New York has earned nationwide recognition for already saving hundreds of lives. The REAP program, (Rapid Evaluation and Appropriate Placement), is easily and clearly an ambitious one and works to involve local governments, law enforcement, treatment agencies and programs, and private and nonprofit stakeholders alike.  This program took off and immediately started saving lives.  Now finally addicts in this area can know that there is a hotline number to call and places to go for these thousands of individuals who are struggling with pain medication addictions. Now new steps can be put into place and intended to battle the spreading epidemic once and for all.

REAP was actually based on a similar program that was put into place in Gloucester, Mass.  In Massachusetts, the local program’s success was attributed to the fact that it didn’t just rely on commitments from agencies, companies, and public bureaucracies.  The program in Gloucester was a grassroots effort, and that’s what really made it successful.  It essentially really relied on community volunteers, who all played a key role in supporting any and all individuals who were struggling with heroin and opioid addiction from the moment that they made the call for help.  REAP mimicked this plan, and it has seen nothing but success since its inception.

Why These Programs are Needed

Substance abuse has been affecting the nation for some time now, and the last few years have seen a marked increase in the severity of the problem and in a big way too. Opiate pain relievers, heroin, and alcohol in particular are the biggest problems. More and more people are abusing these substances year after year after year to the point where the issue is now a legitimate epidemic. Never before have there been as many opiate addicts and alcoholics in the nation as there is now.

Elderly Americans experience troubles with addiction now more often than ever too, and they often need a hotline just so they have someone to talk to. Their difficulties often come in the form of prescription drug abuse or alcohol abuse, the worst of which is when both are combined together. Studies now show that of the forty percent of American senior citizens who are prescribed opiate pain killers or psychotropic drugs about half of them end up having a substance abuse or addiction problem with such substances.

The fact of the matter is that crisis after crisis had hit the nation in the form of substance abuse, the biggest problem of which right now has been with opiate abuse, either with heroin abuse or with prescription pain drug abuse. That’s why these hotlines are needed now more than ever.

These two issues combined, (heroin and prescription pills), account for more than seventy percent of the nation’s drug abuse and addiction problem,  and these two issues account for no less than ninety percent of the deaths that occur in the nation from drug abuse and addiction both. If opiate abuse was totally taken care of and totally beaten in the nation, then the United States would have eradicated about seventy percent of its overall drug problem. If alcohol was also totally taken care of at the same time ninety percent of the nation’s overall addiction and substance abuse problem would be resolved just like that.  This is the goal of REAP and of programs like it, and for this reason these hotlines should receive our full support.

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