In this day and age when drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse, in general, is such a concerning and worrying aspect of daily American life, it becomes a very true fact that Americans are seeking out different ways of addressing and dealing with these types of problems and issues. Intervention has become a very necessary and needed aspect of American life as a result of these trends.
The worst crisis issue that comes about from drug and alcohol addiction is most definitely the deaths that occur because of drug and alcohol addiction. In the United States today there are about twenty-five million Americans who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and about eighty to one-hundred and twenty thousand die every year because of their substance abuse habits. This has been the case for some time now, as addiction and substance abuse really started to skyrocket in the nation in 2001.
Statistics on the Matter
IV drug use continues to be one of the most concerning aspects of drug addiction and substance abuse in general. IV drug use is not only one way to get heavily addicted to drugs, but it is also one of the deadliest methods of substance abuse. For example:
- According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) an estimated 3.7 million people had used heroin with an IV at some time in their lives, and over 119,000 of them reported using it within the month preceding the survey. An estimated no less than 314,000 Americans used heroin in the past year alone. The group that represented the highest number of those users was 26 or older. Additionally, about 57.4 percent of past year heroin users were classified with dependence on or abuse of heroin; and an estimated 281,000 persons received treatment for heroin abuse in that same year.
- According to the Monitoring the Future survey, NIDA’s nationwide annual survey of drug use among the Nation’s 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, IV heroin use remained stable from the years of 2003 to 2004. Lifetime heroin use was measured in that of 1.6 percent among 8th-graders and 1.5 percent among those who were 10th and 12th graders.
- The use and abuse of IV methamphetamine was initially limited to Hawaii and to western parts of the country, but it continues to spread out eastward, with rural and urban areas everywhere increasingly affected by this crisis. According to one national survey, approximately 10 million people in the United States have tried methamphetamine at least once in their lives.
- Young adults, with an average age of first use of IV meth of approximately being at 21 years, are far more likely to use meth than teens or any other age group in fact. Truly meth is a major crisis for young adults.
How Needle Exchange Programs Help
A needle exchange program is a government sanctioned program that essentially provides addicts with a safe, cordoned place to use IV drugs and to use clean needles to avoid the spread of intravenously transmitted diseases and health problems of different kinds. Needle exchange programs are highly controversial locations because they involve and they allow people to basically use and abuse IV drugs in a legal and, “safe”, manner.
However, in some states, these programs are quite popular. In fact, in the states where they are legal, it is quite interesting to know that drug and alcohol addiction statistics and general rates do not actually go up at all. Rather they have either stayed the same or the rates have gone down. This has been the biggest concern amongst those who contested these ideas as being at all valid or at all worthwhile as a method of addressing addiction.
In truth, though, even though the idea of sanctioned drug use safe houses seems unrealistic, these methods are quite successful. They even operate as a good form of intervention too, because they give people a chance to be seen by an addiction counselor while they are at such centers and programs. When an addict comes to such a program to use his or her IV drugs, he or she will be allowed to use and will be given a clean needle, yes, but he or she will also be in for an intervention when he or she comes down from being high. This is often the push and the nudge that is needed to help such individuals to realize that now more than ever is the time to hang it up and go into a rehab program for addiction.
Drug and alcohol addiction is a cruel fate for many in the United States today. Now more than ever these issues and these problems are bringing more and more crisis and sorrow to the nation. Though needle exchange programs are controversial, to say the least, they have proven to be somewhat successful at least for certain geographic areas. In this day and age with as bad as addiction is becoming, anything with more success than detriment should be considered as a valid approach for tackling the nation’s addiction problem.