Lowell is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts with a population of 108 thousand people living across its 14.5 square miles. It is also the second largest in the Boston metropolitan area. Lowell became known as the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution and as such many of its historic sites have been preserved by the National Park Service.
It was founded in the 1820's as a manufacturing center for textiles. As its population grew it acquired more land from other nearby towns and turned into a urban center. By the 1850's Lowell had the largest industrial complex in America and in 1860 there were more cotton spindles in Lowell than in all 11 states that would form the Confederacy combined.
The city continued to grow, mostly due to migrant workers and immigrants coming in to work its mills and by 1900 almost 50 percent of its population was foreign born. The city ended up falling on hard times in the 1920's when most of its companies relocated to the South. In 1931 it was referred to as a depressed industrial desert and only three of its major textile companies remained active.
The city had another rebound though in the 1970's when thousands of new immigrants came, mostly from Cambodia following the genocide by Khmer Rouge. This time the city focused its growth efforts on culture though instead of industry.
Today Lowell continues this cultural growth and has many annual events to celebrate this as well including the Winterfest, Lowell Women's Week, Lowell Film Festival, Doors Open Lowell, African Festival, Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival and the Bay State Marathon.
Addiction Crisis gets State Doctor's Group to Meet:
The Massachusetts Medical Society has their attention on the growing heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis that is spreading across the state. The group, that represents more than 24 thousand physicians, will devote its annual Public Health leadership forum to the ever growing heroin epidemic in the state. They plan on covering topics like overdose prevention and prescription of pain medication.
With reports of up to 217 heroin overdose deaths in only the first three months of the year, this is one case where crisis is anything but an understatement. Those figures, do include Lowell, but do not include the state's largest three cities, Boston, Worcester and Springfield who keep their own records.
For people who are addicted to prescription drugs, particularly painkillers, there is very often a road to street drugs. Many people turn to prescription drugs because they are easier and safer to get, buying them off of friends, taking them from a family member’s cabinet or just abusing their own prescription. However when either their source runs out or their finances begin to dry, they turn to whatever they need to, to ward of opiate withdrawal. This is most often heroin. Heroin is widely available on the street, as it gets flooded in in record numbers throughout the nation, and is cheap with costs for a "stamp bag" (one dose) costing only $10, or even as low as $4 if bought in bulk in some cities.
Elder Abuse, a Growing Problem:
There were over 2,600 reported cases of elder abuse reported to one center for elder services in 2014 in Massachusetts. Statewide in 2011 there were over 10 thousand reported cases.
Studies done to look into these showed a lot of drug involvement. Often times the parents are caring for their children who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, then as time goes on they get older and eventually need care themselves, but their children have never been able to get over their addiction.
Now they find themselves under the care of someone who's primary concern is where they will get their next fix. This leads to abuse and neglect. This is far from what had previously been believed, that the majority of abusers of the elderly were well intentioned caregivers who became too overwhelmed and turned to abusing them.
These family members who choose to abuse their own parents have been found to mostly do it in one of a number of ways. They target areas where they know they are vulnerable, like refusing to give them medications, hearing aids, glasses, etc. to get something out of them. They misuse things like power of attorney and steal their money instead of paying for their health insurance or take out lines of credit in their name.
All too often they get away with it too, simply stating that the accusations of abuse are nothing more than dementia. When caught, they will then claim that they were abused as a child and that is what caused them to turn to abuse.
Drug Treatment Options in Lowell:
Lowell has four listing for drug treatment centers. Of these two are outpatient care only, one has partial residential stay and one offers full inpatient care.
If you are helping look for a rehab center for a loved one who is dealing with addiction, the first step in finding one would be to call and check to make sure the center you are considering is right for them. Check to see how effective their program is, what results do they get? If your loved one is in need of a special program such as for pregnant or postpartum women or for people who are seeking to handle DUI or DWI charges, find out what programs they have available. Not all locations have these programs, so it is important to ask in advance.
Some types of programs offered are:
- DUI and DWI Programs: These programs assist people who have DUI or DWI charges against them in addition to the addiction and can work with you to fulfill any legal requirements you need.
- Adolescent and Teen Programs: Teenagers and children require extra attention and care when going through drug rehab, these programs offer additional services and help for those that need it.
- Criminal Justice Programs: Special programs for people who were ordered to drug rehab through the courts are available that help make sure you fulfill any requests by the courts.
- Pregnant or Postpartum Women: Pregnant and postpartum women can get into a special program that helps them recover safely from drugs. Some of these programs also have residential short or long term centers and can offer a place for them to stay along with other children they may already have.