Drug crisis needs attention
We were moved this week by a letter to the editor from Adrian Hooydonk of Spruce Head expressing the pain of loss that has been visited upon too many families in our area by drug addiction and fatal overdoses.
There are those in our community engaged in a life-and-death struggle with drug addiction, and the problem is getting worse.
The number of people in Maine seeking treatment for addiction to opiates including heroin and prescription pain killers has doubled in the past 10 years, according to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, as reported in the Portland Press Herald. From 2004 to 2013, those seeking help for heroin use went from 996 to 1,820; for opiates in general from 2,291 to 4,801.
Nor are opiates the full picture of drug abuse in our area. Last week's front page carried a story of those busted trafficking bath salts, a drug that has not affected as many as the painkillers, but that has had devastating results on individuals who used it.
The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency's Facebook page shows several cases of law enforcement agents in orange haz-mat suits investigating homes where individuals are manufacturing methamphetamine.
The war on drugs has raged on during the time that this epidemic has doubled in scale, so enforcement alone is not the answer, but what is, and who is working to find it?
We have seen too many young faces on our obituary pages, the victims of overdoses and suicide, related to drug addiction.
Whether or not you personally know someone affected by addiction, this is your problem too because it is costing the taxpayers through enforcement, treatment, lost work and productivity. This is society's problem.
Teens and young people in particular are susceptible to addiction. Experts urge parents to be involved, to be nosy where their children are concerned and ask tough questions when warning signs start to appear.
"Go ahead and ask those questions that your gut is telling you to ask," one expert told ABC news in Nashville. "If you are hearing inconsistencies in your child’s story about why they are late, why they dented their car, why they are stealing money, why they are looking so tired all the time, follow up with targeted questions.”
If you, or someone you care about, is battling addiction, do not wait any longer to seek help.
The Maine Office of Substance Abuse offers a listing of help services at maine.gov/dhhs/samhs/osa/help/index.htm.
You can also call the the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Information and Resource Center:
1-800-499-0027 (in Maine only) or 207-287-8900
Maine statewide information line: Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Resource Center can provide information about substance abuse and listings of treatment agencies and support group meetings in Maine.