While a select few are able to kick drugs and alcohol by going “cold turkey,” most people who are addicted need a little help to get sober. Beating an addiction is not only mentally and physically difficult; kicking certain drugs without medical supervision can also be dangerous. On top of the obvious detox hurdles, finding professional recovery services can be a lot harder than most people realize.
Despite the fact that addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, several states still refuse to offer funded recovery services. One of those states is New Hampshire and, for its citizens, the road to recovery treacherous one at best.
An Investment in Health
In 2014, annual drug-related deaths in the state of New Hampshire rose to a record 300. What’s more, Gov. Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency last August after the state saw an astounding 44 overdoses from a marijuana-like synthetic drug called “Smacked.”
In 2012, New Hampshire was labeled the “biggest beer-drinking state” in the country, with residents downing an average of 43 gallons of beer each year. New Hampshire is dealing with an ever-rising heroin problem, as more prescription drug addicts are making the switch, citing lower costs and a much stronger high.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
No matter how you look at it, addiction recovery services have never been more needed. For example, Connecticut’s three community centers see upwards of 15,000 addicted patients per year; New Hampshire would expect similar numbers if they were to open one as well.
“It’s an absolutely invaluable tool,” said Cheryle Pacapelli, director of the nonprofit Hope for New Hampshire Recovery. “For people to be able to go to a place where they know that they can get the support they need, that no one there is using drugs or alcohol and that they can be safe [is essential]. Right after you get out of treatment is when you’re most vulnerable.”
For people to be able to go to a place where they know that they can get the support they need, that no one there is using drugs or alcohol and that they can be safe [is essential].-Cheryle Pacapelli
A Step in the Right Direction
States that have an abundance of addiction recovery services are seeing lower rates of drug-related overdoses.
Minnesota, considered by many to be the birthplace of addiction recovery, offers a wealth of free services and 20 drug court programs throughout the state. Law enforcement agencies have created new drug task forces, community forums and drug take-back initiatives. Health officials also launched a new synthetic drug awareness website last year.
Although Minnesota’s overdose death rate is similar to New Hampshire’s at an average of 320 per year since 2000, the number is actually impressive; Minnesota’s population is more than four times larger at 5.47 million people.
New Hampshire will hopefully catch up with some of the more progressive anti-addiction states soon. Last November, Gov. Hassan finally introduced a prescription drug monitoring database that will help prevent “doctor shopping.” That makes New Hampshire the 49th state to implement such a database. Lawmakers are also expected to triple addiction recovery funding this year for the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.
Learn more about the role addiction therapy plays in the recovery process.
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org, Tomas Fano-Flickr