According to Maine’s Attorney General’s Office, the evident opiate epidemic in Maine has resulted in 50 more deaths in 2014 from just 4 years ago.
In response to WMTW’s series on Maine’s Heroin Epidemic this month, Outpatient Therapy Director Luanne Starr Rhoades of Health Affiliates Maine comments, “There are a lot of reasons Maine is struggling with this epidemic. In the not too distant past, physicians felt freer to treat their patient’s pain with opiates. In many cases, it was too much, for too long; and some people became addicted.”
Rhoades elaborates, “Now, with increased scrutiny of prescribing practices, physicians are hesitant to prescribe opiates for pain. Left to their own devices, some people in pain have turned to Heroin and opiate medications sold on the street. Criminal activity of stealing and diverting prescribed medications also happens. Street drugs, and especially heroin, are abundant and relatively inexpensive. The supply of opiates and other drugs come into Maine right up the 95 corridor from Boston and New York. As a result, we are now seeing our neighbors, co-workers and friends impacted by these drugs like never before”.
According to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, in 2014, nearly seven out of ten overdose deaths involved an opiate. And since 2012, the numbers of deaths involving heroin and or morphine have more than doubled.
These are very alarming statistics, and many are wondering what we can do to combat this. For those families who want to know how to help their loved one overcome this, there are some options they can consider. For instance, doing an online search of Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) is a likely first step towards getting clean.
There are also Medication Assisted Treatment options for opiate addiction which are available in Maine in the form of Methodone and Saboxone prescribed by a physician. Nevertheless, even after moving beyond the physical dependency and the cravings the reasons behind the abuse often are still there. Seeking therapy from a substance abuse counselor can help individuals work through all of the struggles that lead them to using.
What to watch for.
Some signs and signals we can all watch for, that might mean someone is struggling with an opiate addiction:
- Social withdrawal from family & loved ones
- Extreme alterations in mood
- Weight loss, nausea, diarrhea & vomiting
- Continued use of the opiate, even after pain has subsided
You can get a complete list of warning signs and other useful information on opiate addiction at: http://www.addictionhope.com/opiates