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addiction treatment story

The Other Side of The Addiction Treatment Story

Addiction Treatment is Life or Death for Some and Life-Changing for Many – There’s Another Side to the Addiction Treatment Story

In California, thousands of organizations offer addiction treatment that is critical to the lives of those who suffer from substance abuse problems. Regardless, media reports on the addiction treatment industry are unbalanced, tending to question the charges billed by service providers while lacking focus on the reimbursement amounts paid by insurance companies.

The paucity of coverage does not reflect the volume of life-saving care provided by these treatment organizations. Instead, the media chooses to sensationalize substance abuse treatment by honing in on unethical behaviors within the addiction treatment industry. This approach perpetuates the public’s misconception that the addiction treatment industry consists of dubious organizations that engage in fraudulent billing and dishonest marketing practices. Although unscrupulous addiction treatment facilities exist, these few organizations do not accurately represent the entire industry; ethical nonprofit and for-profit facilities greatly outnumber corrupt organizations.

Mental health and addiction treatment providers are often grossly underpaid by insurance companies, causing many organizations that act as a positive force in communities to close their doors to patients in need of care. It is typical for insurance companies to significantly slash reimbursements, directly send unrecoverable payments to patients and generally underpay for services rendered.

Billing and reimbursement figures are never equivalent. The media needs to shift its focus toward insurance reimbursements versus provider billing amounts. Although news reports quote the average Blue Cross of California’s reimbursement for residential treatment to be more than $3,000 a day, this insurance provider actual pays out a mere $425 per day, which does not come close to covering the operating costs of a six-bed for-profit rehabilitation center.

Since the minimum standards set by the Department of Healthcare Services play a large role in cost structures of addiction treatment facilities in California, it is crucial that the public learns more about the agency’s licensing requirements. To progress its advocacy goals, the Addiction Treatment Advocacy Coalition conducted a financial analysis that breaks down the costs associated with successfully running medium-level treatment facilities. ATAC’s president Stampp Corbin expresses a strong desire to disclose this report to any interested party.

Addiction treatment facilities are also being driven out by private citizens of Orange County, California who are vehemently opposed to having these facilities in their neighborhoods. This attitude creates the quandary of where to place the centers. Is it acceptable for the several hundred thousand addiction sufferers who reside in Orange County to travel to San Diego County, Riverside or Compton to seek help?

Social responsibility demands that each county and city should provide sufficient addiction treatment to those who live and work within those communities.

nelsan ellis - would he have died with alcohol detox by medical professionals?

Would Nelsan Ellis Have Died if He Were Under Medical Supervision During Alcohol Detox?

Alcohol Detox Has Damaging Effects on the Body That Require Proper Medical Treatment, The Nelsan Ellis Tragedy is a Harsh Reality

On July 8, 2017, HBO’s “True Blood” actor Nelsan Ellis died from heart failure complications, which came as a shock to many people. According to a statement released by Ellis’ manager Emily Saines, his attempt to self-detox from alcohol induced his heart failure and caused his death. Throughout his life, Ellis secretly struggled with an alcohol and drug addiction. His father states that the actor attempted to withdrawal from alcohol on his own after failing to maintain his sobriety despite multiple trips to rehab.

WebMD explains that alcohol withdrawal syndrome happens to those who greatly reduce or completely stop drinking alcohol after years or even weeks of heavy drinking. Anxiety, sweating, vomiting, shaky hands, seizures and death are symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. People may experience these symptoms in as little as two hours after drinking their last alcoholic beverage.

The actor’s father claims that in Ellis’ final hours, he suffered from a blood infection, swollen liver, reduced kidney function, a sharp decline in blood pressure and a racing heartbeat. Therefore, it is highly likely that Ellis felt many of the symptoms that occur from alcohol withdrawal during his self-detox effort.

People who suffer from an alcohol addiction can put themselves in jeopardy by trying to detox without medical supervision, especially if they have engaged in long-term habitual alcohol use. Under a doctor’s supervision, people can reach sobriety by safely tapering off their alcohol consumption instead of dangerously quitting in an abrupt manner. Alcohol suppresses glutamate production by interrupting the brain’s neurotransmitters. In turn, this makes the drinker feel excitable. In some cases, abruptly stopping alcohol use can result in brain hyper-excitability once there is no alcohol to inhibit the neurotransmitters, leading to the effects of withdrawal.

In stark contrast to his “True Blood” character’s freewheeling ways, Ellis’ father says that the actor was embarrassed by his alcohol addiction. He chose not to disclose his problems with alcohol to the public or inform his fans about his rehab stints. Ellis’ strong desire to keep his substance-abuse battle private may have driven him to withdrawal without medical assistance, contributing his tragic death.

Due to the circumstances surrounding his death, Ellis’ family wants to share his alcohol struggles with the world, hoping that Ellis’ story may save the life of someone who is addicted to alcohol. His father describes the actor as a person who was kind to others and an amazing friend to those who knew him best; therefore, he feels that Ellis would want to help people by allowing to act as a wake-up call.

medicaid waiver and drug alcohol addiction rehabs

New Medicaid Waiver Expected to Keep Rehabs Busy

Medicaid Waiver Provides Federal Funding and Removes Previous Restrictions for Rehabs

Millions of people suffer from substance abuse and other addictions. Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, the truth is hard to overlook, a lot of people need help to curb their addiction.

There is another uncomfortable truth. Recovering from an addiction with professional help can be expensive for families. Rehabbing a patient from detox to sobriety requires many highly qualified staff members and it’s a huge amount sacrifice for the patient to uproot themselves from home and spend time at an inpatient facility.

However, the recent waiver of a Medicaid rule makes addiction treatment easier and more accessible to people who need it most.

The First Steps to Recovery

As a concerned family member, you are in a key position to getting your loved one to treatment. During the intervention process, it’s critical that you make your addicted loved one realize that there is a problem, it’s affecting those around them and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get help.

As soon as they realize they need to change, you can immediately take them to treatment. There are 30, 60 and 90-day rehabilitation programs available.

The problem is, a major block in their road to recovery has become funding their treatment. When families reach this crucial point, the reality to the costs of an inpatient treatment program hit hard.

Great News for Recovery – The Medicaid Waiver

In the past, California rehabilitation costs were steep for a full 90-day cycle and rehabilitation facilities could also only offer a maximum of 16 beds because of an old Medicaid inclusion. This resulted in lower income families not getting a proper rehabilitation service.

Now, waiving the Medicaid waiver inclusion opens more beds for people who desperately need them. The decades-old rule prevented and limited federal funding for treatment. With the rule now removed, people from low-income families will finally have access to the treatment they need. Millions of dollars in federal funding will be available and treatment centers can now offer services to more people who need their assistance.

As more and more states seek to address the issue, hope continues to rise for recovering addicts in need of rehabilitation and treatment.

Professional Help for Addiction Treatment

Ocean Hills Recovery, we offer professional help for addicts trying to take the next step in recovery. We take people in and rehabilitate them from detox to long-term sobriety. Our goal is for them to become better versions of their previous selves and to live long, fulfilling lives.

Contact OHR at (866)303-2444 to help you start your recovery, today! 

carrie fischer addiction leads to overdose

Celebrities and Addiction – Carrie Fischer’s Potent Cocktail Ends in Disaster

Star Wars Famous Carrie Fischer Found Dead After Accidental Overdose

The reality is unnerving. With today’s highly potent prescription and street drugs, anybody, under the right conditions, can become addicted. Drugs and alcohol are readily available today and they don’t discriminate in the lives they take. It’s impossible to call yourself safe from the threats of substance abuse, even if you’ve never previously used before.

Celebrities and famous personalities are no exception. Their fame and fortune often leads to dangerous life decisions. Whether it’s an excess of money and nothing to spend it on or a dissatisfaction with life at the top of the payroll, more and more celebrities continue to turn to drugs and alcohol to fill the void.

Maybe they have more expendable income to burn or maybe it’s that when you’re a star, normal life isn’t as exciting. It just doesn’t compare to the big screen.

Some are willing participants and some are unwillingly drawn because of their acquaintances. Many become cautionary stories for news agencies and it’s these benders that inevitably lead to their downfall.

If celebrity personalities who seemingly have all the pieces put together can get their lives turned upside down, it’s easy to imagine how everyday people can too.

In fact, the average person is more vulnerable to succumb to addiction. The perceived release and “highs” associated with chemical dependency will alter your perspective and create a sense of need.

Another Celebrity Caution Story – Carrie Fischer

Well-loved Carrie Fischer, famous for her role in “Star Wars,” was found a few days following the release of her latest film dead after overdosing from a cocktail of potent drugs. She shocked millions with her death. Toxicology reports point out the cause of death as a lethal combination of drugs including opioids and cocaine.

Fischer battled her own internal demons from an early age. She used marijuana at 13 and graduated to heavier drugs in her early 20s.  Fischer reportedly used prescription drugs such as anti-depressants and anxiety related substances for emotion regulation as well.

Fischer went to rehab after suffering from a drug overdose in 1985 but unfortunately, she admittedly couldn’t stay away from her substances for long.

A very positive thing that Fischer did was she used her notoriety to promote awareness. She gave speeches on mental health and drug abuse, hoping to strike a chord with people. She found many avenues to share her struggles in hope that it may help others overcome their own personal demons. She wrote books, gave talks and produced shows to spread the message. She made mental illness and substance abuse her battleground. She won several battles against substance abuse but unfortunately succumbed to her addictions during her final binge.

Fischer’s death may have come as a surprise, but her death can prove to be a rallying point for others to promote awareness on the importance of rehab and treatment in a recovering addict’s life.

Professional Assistance for Addiction

Don’t be a cautionary tale for your peers. Come clean, live clean, be clean. Your first step is to recognize that you have a problem that needs solving. Come to Ocean Hills Recovery to begin your rehabilitation process. We will help you overcome the addiction that has bothered you for so long.

Contact OHR at (866)303-2444 to help you start your recovery, today! 


filipino drug war

Stark Choice for Filipino Drug Addicts: Surrender Or Risk Being Killed

Shocking reality for drug addicts in the Philippines

Being a meth fiend and a resident of Malate, a slum area in Manila, Lilibeth Diego knows a lot about the drug war in the Philippines. She is 53 now but has been an addict since her high school days. “Been taking it every single day since 1981,” Diego says. Her lack of teeth and skinny appearance tells the tale of drug abuse, though she swears she has never sold any drugs in her life. 

Fear and paranoia engulfs Filipino drug addicts

After the recent “war on drugs” campaign was launched by the newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte, Diego and her husband chose to surrender. “I’m too scared to die,” she said. It was an easy choice for her.

In fact, she is so paranoid and scared about the stricter laws that she just decided to sign some legal documents to ensure she’s on her way out of this. She received a briefing and, without any issues, she was sent back home. If you ask her, she has stayed clean ever since that day.

The numbers tell the real story

Since the new President Duterte took charge and initiated what most call the Filipino Drug War, the official death toll has gone beyond 3,000. Based on the numbers shared by their national police chief, at least half of them got killed in the encounters with police, while more than 700,000 Filipinos, like Diego, decided to surrender.

The numbers have certainly overwhelmed the government officials. The country doesn’t have the required infrastructure to support so many Filipino drug addicts, nor does the government have the huge budget to fund their rehab therapy. There are less than 50 rehab centers in the whole country which are government-accredited.

The new laws are not for the faint of heart

“Now that we have chosen to surrender, we are being monitored very closely,” Diego says. “But if we start using them (drugs) again, the cops will get to know for sure. And they will come looking for us.” Diego, just like countless other Filipino drug addicts who surrendered, has to attend Zumba classes regularly, every other week.

Chief Inspector Paulito Sabulao, the commander at the precinct station, claims those who surrender and manage to stay clean (and away from all sorts of drug abuse) are going to be safe from the police activities in the country. “But I still have to warn them,” he said, “if they continue to use or deal the drugs, they are likely to be killed.”

There’s pressure on cops to kill more of them

Cops who work under Chief Sabulao are yet to kill anyone since the drug war in the Philippines started a few months ago. And that has actually got him in trouble with his supervisors.

“My colonel was getting a lot of pressure from (his) bosses,” Sabulao says, “and he asked me why haven’t we killed anybody till now,” he continued. “He has ordered me to start killing anyone who has a known drug habit. But I had to tell him I didn’t want to rush and make any mistakes just to ensure that those people are actually criminals.”

Gaining trust in the community and offering help

If you listen to Sabulao, he prefers to go with an approach that’s more community-based instead of fear-inducing. He reaches out to people in his precinct and offers them any help and guidance they might require in helping the cops in identifying and eliminating the causes of threat. 

“It’s about developing relationships in the community based on trust. And it really seems to be working for us,” he says. Petty crimes and theft in his precinct have dropped down significantly since the drug war in the Philippines started. And surprisingly, no drug-related murders happened in the area, either.

He’s using the 400+ people who have surrendered in the precinct to find more about the drug dealers who still remain functional in the area.

Not letting the situation get out of hand

“If the police start killing local drug dealers, some drug suspects are likely to get paranoid that they are next on the hitlist,” he explained. “So they will try eliminating the people they think might inform on them in order to save themselves from the crossfire. This means if we don’t kill anybody, they will not kill anybody.” Other officers and commanders, however, seem less cautious about this, and more eager to execute the orders.

Inevitable encounters prevail

Some 300 yards down the same street where Diego lives and in another precinct, many mourners gathered in the front of a coffin. It’s of Aristotle Garcia (47), who got killed in a recent encounter with the police. The cops believe he was dealing drugs on the street. However, his sister, Karen, totally disagrees and claims he was just a drug user but never dealt drugs as they are claiming. 

But there will be no further investigation into this matter.

Even while they are grieving, they are not standing against Duterte’s war on drugs. But they wish the police was more careful in selecting their target.

sobriety transformation

Woman Shares Inspiring Transformation Pic to Celebrate 4 Years of Sobriety

4 Years Sober. Check Out this Young Woman’s Inspiring Photos 

Taking the first step towards addiction recovery is never an easy journeyt. For, 26-year old Dejah Hall, it’s been 4 years since she decided to work on clean living outside of heroin and meth. To mark her drug sobriety anniversary, she took to Facebook and shared some pics of her transformation in a post that since went viral.


Arrest and Other Lows Trigger Decision to Get Clean

In her post, she puts a recent selfie of her looking healthy and happier side by side with a photo of herself in what she referred to as a state of “full blown addiction” and a mug shot taken on the day of her arrest four years back when she decided to clean up and embrace sobriety.

Turning to Religion for Purpose and Support with Sobriety

Raised as a Christian prior to her addiction, Hall made the claim that a big part of how she found new direction and the strength to seek a purposeful life was by turning back to God. According to her, surrendering to him on the day of her arrest (December 12th, 2012) changed her perspective and started the kind of progress she needed.

As of December 2016, she was in the process of completing her Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in the hopes of becoming a prison minister to help other people dealing with tough situations. Now a mom to a 2 -year old, the young woman credited her religious foundation and newfound relationship with God for how far she’d come.

Visit Grandfather Sparks Breaking Point for Addict

In retrospect, she spoke about how much the drugs affected her life. She felt like a monster and was isolated from family, yet unable to care about things or people as she used to. Seeing her grandfather on his 91st birthday a few years back was a breaking point for her and looking at the person she’d become who she disliked, she made the decision to seek treatment after that day. 

Her Inspiring Message For Those Seeking Addiction Recovery

Unfortunately she was arrested shortly after and sentenced to prison. While serving time, Hall said it was a struggle to continue with her goal to achieve a life free of drugs. However, she has been successful so far and hopes her story will inspire others. 

In an interview with the Daily Mail, she encourages other addicts not to give up their fight for sobriety and seek help because it’s out there and clean living is a possibility for everyone. 


Opposite of addiction connection

Opposite of Addiction Not Sobriety? Could it be Connection?

Everything society thinks it knows about addiction could be wrong…

Johann Hari, the author of “Chasing The Scream”, a New York Times Best-selling Book on the topic of War on Drugs, delivered a TED talk about how our current drug-related policies aren’t helping the people suffering from drug addictions and why he believes that an addict requires more empathy and care than the rest of the public.

The true cause of addiction is largely misunderstood

“We will need to change a lot more than just our drug policies,” Hari said in his TED talk. The most important of those things, according to him, is our perception of the drug addiction problem and what causes it. “What should happen to all those people who are exposed to chemical hooks of painkillers like morphine during or after a treatment? They should become drug addicts, but that doesn’t happen.” Hari claims that a vast majority of us have got a wrong perception about how we get addicted to things (which includes our smartphones, too!).

opposite of addiction connection

What causes addiction?

Based on the trials conducted by Prof. Bruce Alexander during the 1970s, it’s quite evident, Hari said, that be it any kind of addiction: pornography, gambling, or drug abuse, it’s caused due to the lack of human connection. “If you are beaten down by life, traumatized or isolated, you will bond with anything that will provide you with some sense of relief,” he mentioned further in the talk.

Human beings need to bond

Talking about people who suffer from substance abuse and other serious addictions, Hari brought up the question as to why negative and self-harming habits are formed over time. “Human beings have this innate and natural need to bond,” he explained further. “You will connect and bond with something because that’s how our nature is, and that’s what we want as human beings. And when we are happy and healthy, we will bond with each other.”

Time to change the definition of “addiction”

“For almost a hundred years now, we have been opposing and singing “war songs” to people who got caught up in drug abuse,” Hari said with disappointment. “We should have been caring for them and singing some love songs to them, instead, because the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety (or de-addiction). The opposite of addiction is connection.” This goes a long way in telling why most people who seek therapy for their addictions rarely find the solution to their problem.

gray death deadly street drug

Grey Death: Elephant Tranquilizer Street Drug Rips Through Southern America

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New Street Drug Mix Linked to Multiple Overdoses in America

Grey death is an increasingly popular new street drug in America. It’s highly potent and deadly. So far, authorities are still puzzled by what has been named, ‘grey death.’ It got its unique name from law enforcement after being tied to no less than four cases of drug overdose in the southern states of America.

Grey Death

As of now, officials are not certain what the exact composition of this new drug is, but it is clear that the name grey death’ had to do with the fact that they drug appears grey, much like concrete. Since, the current theory is that it is more or less a designer drug. Grey death is particularly dangerous because it is never an exact mix of compounds that make up the drug. There is always some kind of manipulation according to authorities, based on the analysis they carried out on 50 different samples. No one also knows which compound gives grey death its characteristic color yet.

New Form of US-47700 Give Way To The Potent Drug 

From the tested samples, the actual composition of grey death is extremely varied. However, the dangerous drug is a mixture of another popular designer drug called US-47700, fentanyl, heroin and other similar compounds. Authorities are mostly worried about the fact that the nature of this drug makes it difficult to determine whether its samples are in fact lethal. Knowing how deadly the drug is has proven to be complicated.

Drug Overdose Cases from Grey Death

So far, officers have been able to flag a number of cases where grey death has been the cause of overdose, based on the drug’s one of a kind appearance. The puzzling aspect of the drug is still its composition, and the varying chemical compounds used in different batches. Prior to authorities properly identifying grey death, they knew about the synthethic opioid, carfentanil, which is present in the drug. Carfentanil had been linked to 8 deaths in Ohio in the past few months. Additionally, this year in Georgia alone, about 6 deaths have been linked to US-47700 and 12 deaths from fentanyl and fentanyl-type compounds. Following this pattern, the major fear that officials are having is with these compounds being mixed, carfentanil could be even more harmful than most people realize. 

Carfentanil: The Elephant Tranquilizing Component

Carfentanil is the purest form of a drug that mimics fentanyl. It is currently unapproved for any kind of use on humans, but vets are known to use this as an animal tranquilizer. As little as 2 milligrams of the drug can fully sedate an African elephant that weighs as much as 2,000 lbs. 

Currently, carfentanil is the component of the grey death mixture that worries authorities the most. The new street drug could easily be picked up by drug addicts looking or a new high that can stay under the radar of cops. As a result, the rates of drug overdoses across the entire country will increase. If you or someone you know is abusing carfentanil, perhaps you should consider and intervention and make the user aware of their damaging behavior.

street drugs in America

drugs and cops

Massachusetts Police Stopped Arresting Addicts – Higher Treatment Rate

The Angel Initiative – Helping Drug Addicts Find Treatment

Cops Light The Way With the “Angel Initiative” drug addicts in Gloucester are able to approach police and find help instead of being arrested. This project, which started in June of 2015, has seen over four hundred drug addicts willingly submit to authorities in order to find treatment. New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study on this new initiative and reported that 94 percent of those who approached police authorities were able to go directly to a drug rehab center.

Waiting For An Angel

Drug addicts who make contact with law enforcement agents and are seeking help are brought to a hospital facility where they wait for a volunteer from the police department. These volunteers are referred to as “angels” and offer the individual seeking treatment emotional support. The drug addicts are then sent to rehab facilities which have partnered up with the local police department. From there, their road to healing begins.

Immediate Help For Drug Addicts

Drug possession in Massachusetts is still considered a criminal offence. However, those who are willing to seek professional help and give up their drugs are not arrested. Insurance companies are to cover each patients’ detox treatment for at least one week as per Massachusetts law. This guarantees citizens the right to receive treatment. Addicts who made contact with the police or made their way to the police station received immediate help.

No Judgement For Those Seeking Help

Reports show that individuals who have successfully turned over their drugs and enrolled in drug treatment stated that they did not feel judged or stigmatized. Drug addicts who sought help by making contact with the police department were able to feel safe. This positive interaction has helped hundreds of drug addicts get the help that they need. An initiative like this is proof that a large number of drug addicts are willing to seek treatment.

Drug Overdose

Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever

Bigger Percentage of Americans Affected by Substance Abuse

Preliminary data from investigations into drug overdose deaths last year show that 2017 drug deaths in America will rise even further than the high numbers of the past. The growing drug epidemic is a major aspect of health in the country, and one that remains concerning for all professionals in this field. According to the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C), Dr. Tom Freiden, it is causing a significant decline in overall health and welfare of Americans.

Drug Epidemic Cuts Across Age and Class Divides in America

Related drug overdose deaths are also said to be on the rise, as over 2 million Americans currently suffer from opioid addiction while another 95 million abused prescription painkillers only in the last year. In general, those suffering from substance abuse include teenagers, young adults, and parents who also happen to be lawyers, teachers, and accountants. With higher rates in the middle class, the drug epidemic is affecting everyone from the upper class through the lower class. 

Hundreds of Agencies Compile Data That Shows the Increasing Drug Overdose Epidemic

From 2016, the death count expected from drug-related deaths will likely exceed 59,000. This number, which is about a 17% increase from 2015, was obtained from preliminary data gathering done by The New York Times and constitutes the largest jump ever recorded for drug deaths in America. 

With decreasing government spending on health care and an escalating crisis in the public health sector, opioid addiction is expected to have an even bigger effect in 2017 and coming years. Drug overdoses, which are currently the leading cause of death among young Americans (50 and under), are said to be made more deadly by the rising inflow of illegally manufactured fentanyl and other opioids, coming in from Mexico through smuggling channels. 

Drug Deaths Peak Higher than Gun, H.I.V and Car Crash Deaths

Drug deaths due to overdose in 2016 outnumbered the highest ever recorded deaths from car crashes (1972), gun violence (1993) and H.I.V infection (1995). It is worth nothing that the numbers obtained by the New York Times are an estimate and not the health agencies’ totaled final, since the CDC will take its time to certify all suspected drug deaths and only release final numbers in December of this year. However, the Times compiled their estimates by tracking down hundreds of health departments, medical examiners and coroners in different counties and states across the United States. Several were left out due to unavailable data but from those compiled, they had accounted for about 76% of total overdose deaths in the previous year 2015. All of this points to a modern plague of drug abuse that’s cutting through America rapidly.

Study Finds Higher Rates of Increasing Drug Deaths in the East Coast

In most of the Midwest and Eastern states, from Ohio to Maine, the data reflects that there has been a large increase in cases of drug overdose. Some of the other states that have been largely affected include Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Recently, the Ohio state government filed a lawsuit against 5 drug companies which they claim to have aided in the drastic rise of the state’s opioid epidemic, which is estimated to have increased by about 25% in 2016. Times reporters interviewed a young man named Cliff Parker, who was on course to build a great life for himself before he was sidetracked by drug addiction and got hooked on heroin. One major thing has caused the region to experience a skyrocketing number of deaths is the blowout from the slow recovery after 2008’s economic recession. Disappearing jobs in many of the industries that keep these cities and towns moving have led to increasing drug abuse and addiction.

Heroin Cases Reduce While Reports of Fentanyl and Carfentanil Abuse Increase

Fentanyl may not be a new drug, but authorities cannot deny its recent surge in seizures and bursts over the past couple of years. Reports of fentanyl abuse doubled in 2016, making it one of the biggest players in the underground market and a leading cause of drug deaths in America. Heroin, on the other hand, which used to be the main player responsible for drug overdose deaths has been observed in much fewer cases recorded recently. In Ohio’s Montgomery County, the actual ratio from tests performed on samples retrieved in overdose cases was positive in 99 cases for fentanyl or its analogues, and only in 3 cases for heroin. 

According to law enforcement, fentanyl and fentanyl-type drugs are often sold as heroin to unsuspecting addicts in the street. Drug traffickers have found it more profitable to use counterfeit versions and analogues of the deadly drug like carfentanil in small quantities. Carfentanil, a drug commonly used by vets to tranquilize elephants is lethal even in doses that can’t be observed with the eye. This is particularly concerning to authorities who have a hard time detecting it in field tests and worry about its growing adoption and a choice drug. 

drug deaths in America