Unfortunately, the fight against drugs is far from over, and with deaths related to drug use showing no signs of slowing, more and more communities are fighting to clean up their hometowns.
However, although the problem has been labeled as an opium epidemic, the problem is not linked to just this one drug. Sadly, other drugs, including methamphetamine use disorder is also on the rise, especially among those already addicted to opioids.
In an article recently published by WebMD, it’s noted that out of the staggering 70,000 drug-related overdoses that resulted in death in 2017, at least one third were related cocaine and/or psychostimulants.
Psychostimulants include meth, as well as other drugs such as Ritalin and MDMA. However, meth perhaps remains as one of the biggest psychostimulant offenders.
It’s also noted that in addition to psychostimulants accounting for a large number of drug overdoses, that number has also been climbing. In the aforementioned statistic of 70,000 deaths being caused by drug overdoses, WebMD estimates in their article that 15% – or about 10,000 – of those deaths were related to psychostimulants.
This percentage is a nearly 40% jump from the previous year, 2016, and that the number of overdose deaths related to cocaine and/or psychostimulants had already increased by nearly 43% from 2015.
These numbers are mind-boggling, and unfortunately at the rate things are going, a lot of fund and assistance is needed if this problem is going to be solved.
The government began issuing out grants years ago to help combat the drug addiction that has wracked the country. This is helpful when it comes to programs that require that funding, such as opioid overdose prevention training. However, because the current drug addiction crisis has been so focused on opioids, that means that other dangerous drugs that thousands are addicted to – such as methamphetamine – are forgotten.
It’s strict rules such as these that shine a spotlight to the holes in the way the health of Americans is handled. Along with the lack of specialized rehabilitation programs, problems with mental health care system prevent those addicted to meth from getting the personalized care that they need.
An article by U.S. News also notes that despite the growing number of people falling victim to meth, the government focus remains stubbornly and frustratingly on opioids. While opioids are indeed a problem that needs to be addressed and fought, this means that grants and other monies meant to fight against opioids is rendered useless when it comes to helping those addicted to meth. This can be especially problematic, since opioid users are often using other drugs as well.
Regrettably, grant money issued specifically to combat the opioid crisis is meant to be strictly used for opioid-related uses. This means that even if there is sufficient funding for opioid-related organizations, events and efforts, the leftover money can’t be used to help combat other drugs that have its hooks in a community.
The article by U.S. New also notes that deaths related to opioids are perhaps not quite as widely used as they were a few years back; more than one fifth of states claim that the majority of deaths caused by drug overdoses were not related to opioids. Opioid-related deaths in these states – which included large and densely-populated states such as Texas, California and Pennsylvania – were reported to be less than fifty percent.
It’s tragic that these grants are locked into being used only for fighting against opioids. While opioids are an awful, dangerous family of drugs that should be eradicated from all communities, its equally as tragic that grants are so specific that they cannot be used for other drug crises affecting an area.