I am fully aware that this post is gonna ruffle feathers, piss in peoples cheerios and generally unnerve some. To be completely honest with you, I don’t care, I care that you read this blog, and I care that you comment. But if it gets your panties all in a wad, maybe it will have done it’s job today.
I live in Franklin County Massachusetts, we are famous for the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Yankee Candle in South Deerfield, we used to have a nuclear plant in Rowe and now we have an enormous Opioid addiction problem. The first 3 I am proud of, the last one not so much. In every town in this county people are using and abusing Opiods, namely Heroin and most recently Fentanyl patches laced with Heroin.
In 2013 there were 1,000 deaths attributed to unintentional Opioid overdose, that is a 46% increase from 2012. This also caused 2000 hospital stays in 2013. There have already been 200 overdoses to date in 2015 and it is just April. I will give our new Governor props that he is addressing the problem. He has created an Opioid task force that has met 3 times and is trying to come up with solutions. One of them has already been implemented, all insurers must now pay for 14 days of Inpatient Care for Drug Addiction, without pre-authorization.
Unfortunately therein lies one of the big issues, Massachusetts has this large Opioid addiction. But we do not have near enough inpatient, or outpatient beds to treat it. People who finally decide that they want help, encounter the same message “we have no beds.” How does this task force plan to fix, or even address and control this addiction if there aren’t enough beds to treat the addicts that want to get clean.
Most of the beds, be they available or not are way out of the addicts comfort zone or ability to travel zone. What I mean by that is that they are in the Greater Boston Area. There are few detox centers in Franklin County. As you head towards the major metropolitan area the detox centers are more prevalent, that does not mean that they have any beds available though.
I was having a conversation with my PCP (about another issue altogether), and we somehow ended up on the topic of Heroin use in the County. She informed me that she has teenage patients as young as 14 years old injecting Heroin in every school district in this county. That flabbergasted me, I am sure I sat there with my mouth hanging open like a fool. What I was thinking was can I put my children in bubbles, protect them from everything and everyone.
Instead I came home and asked both of them about drug use at their school. Both said “yeah it is there mom, but not with our groups.” I breathed a small sigh of relief but then realized that some mothers child is shooting up at school, and it is nauseating. In my day, and I know that makes me so old, the drug of choice was weed, Heroin was hard core, high school kids wouldn’t think of doing that.
Oh how things have changed, this is the world that we live in now. We need to adapt and change to be relevant and protect our kids. As one person affected by the horror of the heroin epidemic said “How many people are going to die while you people gather info?” We need to fix this fast, before we lose more than 1,000 people to Heroin this year. 1,000 mothers, daughters, sons, fathers. These are all people not just a number and we need to fix this before another 1 of them dies