Massachusetts Addiction Treatment and Info

Massachusetts has been grappling with high rates of substance abuse and addiction. In particular, the state has witnessed an increase in the number of people who have lost their lives due to opioids.

Addiction in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is widely known for its historical significance to the United States. The Pilgrim first landed here, and Plymouth Rock is also in this state. From the Freedom Tour to the sprawling city of Boston, the state has made a name for itself since the first few years of the colonization of the Free World.

Today, however, the history of this state is marred by the rates of drug and alcohol abuse among its residents. This is in spite of all the attractions and activities that Massachusetts has to offer to visitors and residents alike.

In spite of its scenic backdrop and historical roots, the state has been struggling with addiction. In 2014, for instance, the NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health - reported that more than 13 percent of the residents of this state above the age of 12 had abused illicit substances in the month prior to the study.

The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services has also reported that opioids were linked to the highest number of admissions into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation center in 2015. They were followed closely by alcohol. other substances that were involved in these admissions included:

  • Alcohol at 33 percent
  • Marijuana at 5 percent
  • Opioids at 58 percent
  • Others at 4 percent

Commonly Abused Substances in Massachusetts

But which substances are most commonly taken by the residents of this state? Consider the information below:

1. Alcohol

Research studies have reported that alcohol was linked to the 2nd highest number of admissions into a recovery program in this state. In 2010, close to 25 percent of all these admissions were linked to this substance. Another 13.6 percent were related to alcohol and another substance of abuse.

That year, for instance, 21624 people received recovery services for abusing alcohol while 11921 were admitted into an addiction treatment program for abusing alcohol and other secondary drugs.

In 2009, PIRE published a report showing that the state spent $1.5 billion due to underage drinking.

2. Cocaine

In 2010, a total of 2269 people enrolled in a recovery program in the state for smoking cocaine. Another 1623 people received similar addiction treatment services for abusing this drug through other routes of administration.

The purity levels and price of cocaine both on the street and wholesale levels have been stable for some years now. The ONDCP - the Office of National Drug Control Policy - also reported that Dominican and Colombian traffickers are the main players in the cocaine trade in Massachusetts.

3. Heroin

In 2010 also, 35593 people were admitted in an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program in Massachusetts for abusing heroin. Most of these people were between the ages of 26 and 30 years, while over 80 percent were Caucasian.

4. Prescription Drugs

In 2010, a total of 5658 people were admitted into an addiction recovery center in Massachusetts for abusing opioids other than heroin. These drugs include such prescription medication as methadone, Vicodin, and oxycodone.

5. Marijuana

The same year, marijuana was linked to 3840 admissions into treatment and recovery programs in the state. The use of this drug alongside underage drinking are some of the most common substance related problems that Massachusetts is grappling with.

This is not surprising considering that cannabis is widely available at affordable prices across the state. Most of it comes in from the American Southwest or Mexico. However, some of it is also imported from Jamaica and Colombia.

The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic

NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse - reports that Massachusetts is among the top 10 American states in terms of the opioid epidemic being seen across the nation. Hospital visits related to heroin, for instance, increased by 256 percent between 2011 and 2015.

Even so, the growing heroin demand in this state did not happen at once. Most of the people who abuse this drug started by developing an opioid use disorder as a result of abusing their prescription medications, particularly Vicodin and OxyContin.

From 1999 to 2000, the state witnessed a 6-fold increase in the fatality rates involving prescription opioids. During the same period, national trends were at similar level as well as in various states.

By 2010, heroin was rising in popularity among the residents of Massachusetts who were already addicted to prescription opioids. That year, the fatality rates involving this substance outpaced the figures reported at the national level.

Death certifications written in Massachusetts also show that most of the people who overdose on opioids do so as a result of abusing both opioids and heroin - as well as synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

The Boston Globe also reported in 2014 that most of the prescription medication overdoses reported to lead to death in Massachusetts involved people between the ages of 25 and 34.

Drug Related Fatalities and Injuries in Massachusetts

In 2007, drug abuse and addiction were the direct cause of 1003 deaths reported in Massachusetts. The same year, the state lost 450 lives in motor car accidents while another 235 people died in incidents involving firearms.

The state also reported a total of 20626 violations involving drug abuse. More than 10 percent of this number were linked to teenagers and other underage individuals. As a result, it is not exactly surprising that the state has been ranked among the leading 18 states in terms of deaths related to drugs.

The ONDCP released a report in 2007 that the state made a total of 11746 arrests related to driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. Two years later in 2009, traffic fatalities involving alcohol numbered at 334.

Addiction Prevention in Massachusetts

In a bid to reduce the rates of substance abuse - as well as the problems linked to addiction and drugs - the state of Massachusetts has instituted several programs, including but not limited to:

a) Ending Stigma

The State Department of Public Health has started a State Without StigMA program. The goal of this program is to encourage local residents to rethink addiction - as well as their perceptions of substance abuse. Through this program, Massachusetts looks towards decreasing the feelings of shame and social exclusion that are commonly associated with addiction. By so doing, it hopes to encourage more addicts to seek help from professional recovery centers.

b) Good Samaritan Law

Although Massachusetts has a Good Samaritan Law in place, many people still fear calling 911 and a local poisons control center when they encounter incidents of drug overdose. This law is designed to protect these people from being prosecuted for committing a drug related crime.

Today, Making the Right Call is campaigning across the state to raise awareness of this law. The goal of this campaign is to ensure that more people report drug overdose incidents so that the victims can get the right medical assistance.

c) Prescription Monitoring and Training

Massachusetts has a prescription awareness tool that doctors and pharmacists are encouraged to use. The goal of this tool is to monitor the prescriptions of certain controlled substances, particularly opioid medications.

Further, the state offers many resources to dental and medical schools so that students are trained on how to deal with the opioid use disorders that they may encounter in the course of their careers.

Finally, Massachusetts has declared the opioid crisis a state emergency. This has allowed it to ban certain opioids from being offered in high doses as well as monitoring prescriptions and increasing access to naloxone among people who have a risk of suffering an opioid overdose.

Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts

The TEDS - the Treatment Episode Data Set - report for 2010 showed that more than 87754 people were enrolled in an addiction recovery program in the state. Most of these admissions were linked to heroin abuse, dependence, and addiction. Of the total numbers, 30 percent were female while 70 percent were male.

50 percent of all the addiction treatment and rehabilitation facilities in Massachusetts only offer recovery services for substance use disorders. However, 30 percent of these centers also provide dual diagnosis treatment for both addiction as well as co-occurring mental health and medical disorders.

About 25 percent of these facilities provide medically managed and supervised detoxification services. These services are recommended during the first few days to weeks of recovery from addiction.

There are several addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs available in Massachusetts. Through these programs, you can enjoy a wide variety of recovery services to help you overcome your substance use disorder. These services include:

i) Medical Detox

When you first give up drugs or alcohol, you will go through withdrawal. You may also experience intense drug cravings. All these effects combine could make you feel pain, discomfort, or even suffer life-threatening conditions.

This is because your body would already have developed physical dependence on the substances that you were abusing. As a result, removing these substances will cause you to suffer withdrawal.

The goal of medical detox is to manage withdrawal as well as provide you with the medical assistance you need to ensure that you do not relapse. This service is essential during the first few days or weeks of your early recovery.

ii) Inpatient Drug Rehab

Once you complete detox, you may be asked to go for inpatient addiction treatment. this means that you would check into the recovery center and live there for some time - between 28 days to 3 months or even longer.

Inpatient treatment would be recommended if you have a severe substance use disorder that has been ongoing for a long time. It might also be ideal if you also have a co-occurring mental health or medical disorder. This is because you would have to ensure that all the conditions that you are struggling with are properly treated and managed.

iii) Outpatient Drug Rehab

However, inpatient or residential drug rehab is not the only option open to you. You can also choose outpatient addiction treatment. this form of recovery would be ideal if your addiction is relatively mild or new, and you are not struggling with any other co-occurring disorders.

In such a program, you do not have to live at the recovery center. Instead, you can check in a few times each week - for a couple of hours every time. This will allow you greater freedom and flexibility so that you can continue meeting your other obligations at school, home, and work.

However, you can also go for both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatments. this would be referred to as a continuum of care, where you first start with inpatient drug rehab before progressing in recovery to an outpatient program.

Irrespective of the type of rehab you choose, however, the following are some of the additional therapies, services, and treatments that you may be able to benefit from in Massachusetts:

  • 12 step and non-12 step support group meetings
  • Addiction education
  • Adventure therapy
  • Aftercare programming
  • Art therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Couples counseling
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • Family support
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Holistic, alternative, or complementary treatment methods, such as massage and meditation
  • Individual therapy
  • Journaling
  • Long-term case management
  • Medication assisted treatment
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Relapse prevention
  • Sober or transitional living facilities
  • Vocational training
  • Yoga

Getting Help

Irrespective of the duration, extent, and severity of your substance use disorder, you should always remember that it is possible to achieve a state of complete sobriety and recovery.

However, this would be difficult to do on your own. Sometimes, it might even prove dangerous if not fatal to attempt self-recovery and treatment. instead, you should consider checking into a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation center in Massachusetts or elsewhere so that you can get the help that you need to recover from your addiction and manage other co-occurring disorders that you may also be struggling with.


For more information about treatment centers in Massachusetts, Click Here.

Cities with Drug Rehab Centers in Massachusetts

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