The Opioid Epidemic in Mobile, Alabama
Opioid abuse is a serious problem in Mobile and throughout Alabama. Doctors in Alabama prescribe more opioids per person than in any other state. Mobile is part of Alabama’s first Congressional District, which has the fifth-highest rate of painkiller prescriptions in the state. Prescription painkillers like Oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone may be legally prescribed throughout the nation, yet they can be highly addictive. Consequently, the number of Mobile residents who are addicted to opioids has risen drastically over the course of the past decade.
The Attorney General of Alabama estimates that 30,000 people in Alabama have an opioid or heroin dependence, and in 2016, 343 people in Alabama lost their lives to an opioid overdose. The Mobile police have encountered supplies of heroin which are laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which has killed several hundred people in Alabama in recent years.
Meth Abuse & Trafficking On the Rise
Methamphetamine is another illegal and dangerous drug which is disrupting lives in Mobile. Many city residents are addicted to meth. In fact, almost half of all drug cases which law enforcement handled in Alabama in 2017 were related to meth.
Mobile County has also become a center for methamphetamine production. Police discovered sixteen meth labs in the area in 2016 and at least nine in 2017, the same year in which drug enforcement agents arrested a Mobile drug trafficker carrying a supply of meth worth about $50,000. Unfortunately, as the police close meth labs throughout the city, traffickers have recently introduced an even more potent version of meth called “ice” into the Mobile drug market.
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Substance Abuse Progress in Mobile
The people of Mobile have taken on the challenge of reducing substance abuse in their community. Business and media leaders and the local government have collaborated to create a Partnership for a Drug-Free Mobile to educate residents about the dangers of drug abuse and options for treatment. The Attorney General of Alabama filed lawsuits in 2018 against the pharmaceutical corporations which have manufactured and sold addictive opioids throughout the state.
Meanwhile, the Alabama state government has launched a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to restrict access to painkillers. The Alabama state government has also received millions of dollars in federal grants to launch drug abuse prevention projects. On a local level, city police and paramedics are starting to carry naloxone (also known as Narcan), which alleviates the life-threatening symptoms of an opioid overdose. The effort to save lives and better inform the public about the dangers of substance abuse has helped prevent Mobile from suffering the higher rates of drug casualties which have recently devastated northern and central Alabama.
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Addiction can ruin lives and destroy families, but there is always hope. There are options throughout both Mobile and Alabama for detox, therapy, and recovery support. If you or someone you know is trying to overcome substance abuse, contact a dedicated treatment provider today.