Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Boston, Massachusetts
Long one of America’s most important ports, Boston, Massachusetts is a leading point of entry for a number of legal and illegal drugs to enter the United States.
In particular, Boston experiences the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic that is currently plaguing over 2 million Americans, though the city also see high rates cocaine use and alcoholism. In Boston, addiction does not just plague one group, but all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and other sub-groups.
Teenage Substance Abuse in Boston
The number of high school students using drugs in Boston has increased in recent years. According to Boston Public Health Commission’s data, 42% of high school students have reported using marijuana in their lifetime. High school students also reported using cocaine (3.5%), ecstasy (4.6%) and heroin (2.8%) at lower rates.
Alcohol Abuse in Boston
Rates of alcohol abuse are increasing every year in Boston. Although Boston residents of all ages abuse alcohol, college students are often more susceptible to alcohol abuse as they are exposed to drinking culture on campus. This is a major problem in Boston, which is home to 152,000 college students studying at the 35 colleges, universities, and community colleges in the city. Hazing Prevention notes the effects of alcohol on college students, noting 25% of college students admitted to poor academic performance due to alcohol consumption. Students in fraternities or sororities have a doubled percentage of risk, and hazing activities increase their vulnerability.
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Boston’s Opioid Crisis: “Methadone Mile”
Boston’s struggle with opioid abuse has increased in recent years. Between 2011 and 2015, opioid abuse increased 130%, much of this involving heroin and fentanyl. Boston’s notorious “Methadone Mile” (off Massachusetts Avenue) is a one-mile strip where many individuals abuse prescription and illicit opioids. Methadone Mile is punctuated with homeless individuals struggling with substance abuse who panhandle to fuel their substance abuse disorders. Some speculate the methadone clinic and homeless shelters contribute to the high abuse of opioids in the area.
Individuals who turn to heroin are usually transitioning from prescription drugs, which are often more expensive and harder to find. Often times, individuals who were in the hospital for serious injury and were prescribed drugs like Morphine, Oxycodone, and Methadone often abuse heroin as it has similar effects. Heroin is as cheap as $10 a bag, widely available in Boston.
Sadly, individuals using substances like heroin are unknowingly exposed to fentanyl and carfentanil. Drug dealers mix fentanyl with heroin to create a better high for customers. The end result are individuals who unknowingly take heroin with fentanyl and become more dependent on the substance. Fentanyl is a highly addictive substance that has 100 times more potency of morphine. Carfentanil is even more deadly and addictive than fentanyl and has been confiscated in batches of heroin by local law enforcement.
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Sex Trafficking and Drug Addiction in Boston
Connections between drug abuse and prostitution are common in Boston, with many prostitutes feeding their substance abuse disorder with their work. Victims of sex trafficking often turn to drugs like cocaine and heroin to cope with the grim realities of forced prostitution. News stories relay content on shocking methods to impart women into a life of prostitution; some even include luring them from methadone clinics and later forcing them to engage in sexual acts. The supply of drugs the women, and sometimes children, get from pimps to cope with forced prostitution is enough to keep them trapped, creating a vicious cycle of exploitation.
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Battling substance abuse is difficult for many to bear. There are many factors contributing to drug and alcohol abuse disorders, which often need medical assistance. Co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety can create distress and cause people to self-medicate in unhealthy ways. Individuals with co-occurring disorders often need medication to get them into a place of wellbeing.
Individuals who have lived many years abusing substances or individuals who have a deep dependency on a substance can benefit from rehabilitation. Detox with a compassionate medical provider helps reduce extremely painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms with supervision. Living a future of hope, safety and change is the best decision you’ll ever make. Contact a provider today.