Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Overdose Problems in and Around Erie County Making a Big Impact
For some time now one of the most concerning aspect of the drug and alcohol abuse and addiction problem of the 21st century has been that of overdose deaths that have been occurring as a result of substance abuses. For example, fatal heroin and opiate overdoses are on pace to double from last year, and if the pattern holds, as many as 570 people in Erie County will die in the epidemic this year. This is a huge percent of the population and would be one of the biggest per capita death tolls from opiate abuse that the nation has ever seen before.
Eleven people are dying from suspected opiate overdoses each week so far in 2016, county experts say. This issue here is now an epidemic, and has been labeled thus by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC).
The death toll is prompting health care and Erie County officials to take steps to offer assistance to the addicted and afflicted residents of the area. Their goals thus far are and have been to build up the treatment infrastructure that is overwhelmed and to find more addiction doctors and counselors to help with the problem. Too much delay is occurring in treatment services, according to County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and key members of his administration group and supporters.
Atop of their overall list of priorities and plans and goals to address this is a telephone hotline to connect addicts with treatment services and to increase Health Department staffing for programs addressing the epidemic.
Other steps are aimed at doctors also are in the works as well to try and cut back on these key issues:
• Training more local doctors in how to provide medications to treat addicts who abuse opiates.
• Teaching physicians and medical practitioners on how to screen individuals, particularly young people, who may be at risk of becoming addicted to prescription opioid painkillers and heroin too.
• Forging relationships between primary care providers and addiction treatment specialists as well.
Obviously, the problem in Erie is a severe one to say the least and has been for some time. Essentially, the need for more physicians and other specialists trained to deal with addictions is acute and incredibly immediate, according to Dr. Richard D. Blondell, a professor of family medicine at the University at Buffalo and vice chairman for addiction medicine too. If something is not done soon about this rising problem in the Erie area then it will not only get much worse here but it will also undoubtedly spread to other areas and locations too. For example:
• 900,000 adults and young adults of the ages of 12 and older used heroin in the past year alone. That is the lowest possible estimate. Some estimates state that there are over five million heroin addicts in the entire United States.
• 586,000 individuals in just the last year suffered from a heroin use disorder, and that’s just a low estimate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the average annual rates of past-year heroin use during 2011-2013 had increased 62.5% since 2002-2004.2 The growth in estimated prevalence has been driven in large part from increased heroin use among young adults ages 18 to 25, the most at risk of all demographics.
These are nationwide statistics but still the point is made that these problems are even worse in Erie.
How Addiction Help Hotlines can Ease the Pressure and Strain in Erie
An addiction help hotline is a powerful tool for combatting a drug and alcohol addiction crisis, and this is exactly what is needed right now in Erie. An addiction help hotline is any toll-free number to call on an addiction help website that connects the caller with a referral service. Once patched through, one will be able to effectively and efficiently speak with a trained and knowledgeable referral counselor who can connect the caller with an inpatient rehabilitation center to go to. With this help, those who are addicted in Erie can finally find the proper treatment and care that they need to eradicate their addictions once and for all.