Drug abuse problems are common worldwide. This epidemic can be worse, or it may not be. But it all bring the same result – death. Across the US, drug abuse is a common problem, and Pennsylvania isn’t an exemption. Let’s discuss the current drug problem in Pennsylvania.
Let’s get through the basics: Knowing Pennsylvania and its populace.
The state or commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous state in the US with 12.2 million residents. Economically, Pennsylvania’s household income is $55,702. This is $73 lower than the average US household income.
Philadelphia, which is the state capital, is the fifth most populated city in the US. It has the most ethnically diverse population. The remainder of the state of Pennsylvania is ethnically homogeneous.
Quick Fact: What do ‘ethnically homogenous’ mean?
Ethnically homogenous means that people of a particular state or place all come from a similar ancestry.
What triggered the current drug problem in Pennsylvania?
Population, access roads, and unemployment. Pennsylvania being one of the most populated areas in the US is a good nest for illegal drug distribution. Philadelphia is probably the major distribution center and transshipment point for both licit and illicit drugs for Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Philadelphia plays a large part of this social problem because the city is centrally located in the Mid-Atlantic states and of its vast transportation infrastructures.
Drugs are easily transported via land into and through Pennsylvania by private vehicles, commercial trucks, rental vehicles, and commercial buses. The combined interstate and state highway system of Pennsylvania is an efficient and heavily used transportation network for drug trafficking.
The drugs are then distributed to the locals. How does unemployment contribute to the current drug problem in Pennsylvania? Selling drugs is equivalent to earning an easy buck. With the unemployment rate of 4.7%, people who belonged to the unemployment bracket will always find ways to survive. Even if it means doing illicit activities like drug selling.
With all these factors stated, the overdose death rate in Pennsylvania rose to the hilt. In a study, the Pennsylvania overdose death rate increased 14-fold between 1979 and 2014, with the highest rates among females, white people, and those between the ages of 35 and 44.
The highest rates of drug overdose deaths came from counties in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania, those surrounding Philadelphia, and the northeast near Scranton. Pennsylvania was ninth in the country for drug overdose deaths in 2015. The trend of Pennsylvania overdose death rate kept on increasing each year.
What are the common drugs used by abusers in Pennsylvania?
Marijuana. Ever since the legalization of cannabis in the US, there have been numerous and noticeable cases of abuses in the usage of cannabis all over Pennsylvania. Despite the decrease in reports, marijuana along with alcohol retained the top rankings as the primary drugs of choice among Pennsylvanians.
Cocaine. This drug ranked second among the commonly abused drugs in Pennsylvania. Cocaine might be scarce in some areas in Pennsylvania. Most of the supplies of cocaine are shipped from Arizona, California, and Texas.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs. There was a trend for doctor shopping across the US. The prescription and over-the-counter medications like painkillers were abused. These type of painkillers contain morphine. This is a chemical that stimulates endorphins, a hormone responsible for happiness and reduces the body’s perception of pain.
Heroin. To those who can’t afford to maintain a lifestyle of doctor shopping, they turn to the streets. Heroin offers people the instant ‘high’ for a lower cost. This drug is also one of the perpetrators of the overdose deaths in Pennsylvania.
How is the state of Pennsylvania coping up with this problem?
Pennsylvania lawmakers committed numerous resources and developed many initiatives to help minimize the high overdose death rate in Pennsylvania.
With the increasing rate of drug overdose deaths, the lawmakers planned to establish 45 ‘Centers of Excellence’ in the state. These substance abuse treatment centers will be coordinating with medical organizations such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, addiction clinics, and behavioral health offices.
These Pennsylvania Centers of Excellence will accommodate drug abusers on an individual level, instead of relying on traditional methods that were proven ineffective. The government of Pennsylvania understands that each addiction case requires an undivided and individualized attention, as there are no two substance abuse cases that could be treated simultaneously.
These centers aim to provide effective treatment programs so that patients can maintain sobriety. By requiring to know the affected person on a more personal level, what their triggers are, and the how the role his or her environment and mental health plays in the cycle of the patient’s addiction.
Get addiction treatment help to live a sober life
Addiction is a battle that needs to be dealt with seriously. It’s good to know that you aren’t alone in winning the fight. There are many ways to find drug abuse treatment in Pennsylvania. Or you can go to other places outside of the state so you can keep yourself away from triggers of using illegal drugs again.
You can also explore other options like Pennsylvania’s state and regional programs. These programs are for patients with no insurance and who are financially tight.
Sometimes, you can find drug treatment centers that have a sliding scale for payments based on your income and other factors. All you need to do is do thorough research or ask people who underwent treatment from drug addiction.
Confused on where to start reaching out today? Here are some resources you can use:
- Pennsylvania Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) Directory
- Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Care Provider Search
- PAAA Meetings (Western PA and Eastern PA)
- Pennsylvania Narcotics Anonymous Meetings
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
- SAMHSA Opioid Treatment Program Directory in Pennsylvania: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Never hesitate to get help now and live a sober life later. Death isn’t a way to escape your problems. You can live your life soberly and be at peace with yourself.