Illinois Drug and Alcohol Trends | Substance Abuse Facts

Drug and alcohol abuse claims American lives every year. In the last several years, overdose deaths from prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, heroin, and many other drugs have skyrocketed. There has been a 4.3-fold increase in benzodiazepine-related deaths across the U.S. Overdose deaths involving cocaine and opioids have doubled as of 2015, and use of synthetic drugs, particularly non-methadone synthetics, has sharply increased across the country. This has led to hospital and treatment center admissions, illness, and death.

Prescription drug and opioid abuse have become an epidemic in America. Illinois, in particular, faces an intense prescription drug crisis. Many addicts have a family history of prescription drug abuse, leading to a greater genetic predisposition for addiction. Others began taking prescription medications for legitimate reasons, such as help with surgical recovery, but these painkillers are so potent, many patients become addicted often without knowing quite what’s happening or why.

Illinois residents commonly report addictions to powerful medications, such as Percocet, Dulotin, Oxycontin, and their derivatives. This often progresses into heroin use, especially since heroin is so easily mixed with other drugs. Often, addicts find it difficult to control their dosages of prescription drugs or heroin, leading to accidental overdoses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) finds heroin is one of Illinois’ most significant drug threats, particularly in Chicago and surrounding areas.

Heroin is as prevalent as alcohol in Illinois and is considered a significant threat to public health. According to Illinois’ Office of Adolescent Health, 38 percent of high school students admitted alcohol use during the 30 days surrounding the most current survey. Of those students, 36 percent received their first drink from someone, such as a family member or friend, and 26 percent admitted to riding with an intoxicated driver in the 30 days surrounding the survey. Only 4 percent of Illinois youth ages 12 to 17 reported needing treatment for alcohol, heroin, or other drug use, but they did not receive treatment during the 12 months of surveyed year.

Those most at risk for alcohol or drug addiction are young people, and this is not uncommon in most states. Heroin, cocaine and marijuana are attractive to this age group, and marijuana use among Chicagoan 9th-12th graders is stable, according to the most recent data. Law enforcement officials do report an increase in marijuana coaches finding their way to Illinois, as well as increases in local grow houses and synthetic marijuana. Prescription drug and MDMA abuse are also on the rise among high school students. Drug abuse is especially prevalent in Chicago suburbs, such as in Will, McHenry, and DuPage counties.

Shortfalls of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Care in Illinois

These statistics, particularly overdose death rates, point to Illinois trends that are only worsening. Prescription drug and heroin abuse are at crisis levels, according to Medill Reports of Chicago. One Medill interviewee had overdosed on painkillers and heroin three times as of the 2016 report. Many overdosed addicts are found lying in bathrooms or on streets, some with needles still in their arms. Addicts describe the withdrawal process as “feeling like you’re dying”.

Illinois legislators are attempting to deal with drug and alcohol crises, using laws such as the Heroin Crisis Act. The state’s health system simply is not adequately equipped to address the scale of the problem. The Heroin Crisis Act requires doctors to document narcotic prescriptions; it also requires law enforcement officials and firefighters to be trained in administering naloxone. These laws will not ease the stigma of drug and alcohol addiction, nor will they make it easier for hospitals and clinics to diagnose and treat addicted patients.

Illinois Residents Seek Out-Of-State Treatment Options

In the past several years, there have been more than 15,000 heroin-related treatment admissions in Illinois. Methamphetamine treatment admissions also have sharply increased. Physicians, other health professionals, and law enforcement officials cannot keep up with the trend. An overtaxed system steadily increases the number of drug- and alcohol-related deaths. Many professionals lack the basic knowledge, medication, or equipment to deal with substance-related crises. Law enforcement officials did not carry naloxone in their squad cars until 2014, and Illinois has been slow to enact legislation, such as Good Samaritan laws.

The lack of resources has prompted many families and addicts to seek out-of-state-treatment. Florida has been on the forefront of the of the drug crisis. Miami is home to one of the largest shipping ports in the country. This makes Miami and other Florida locations prime targets for drug traffickers and dealers. In the past decade, Floridian substance abuse experts have dealt with addictions to prescription painkillers, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and other addictive substances. Mental health professionals and medical providers in Florida have become so adept at treating addiction that the state has earned the nickname “The Recovery State.”

The Treatment Center Leads the Way in Substance Abuse Recovery

At The Treatment Center, we offer evidence-based, individualized substance abuse treatment that many clients cannot receive in their home states. Treatment providers in Florida have the experience and proven treatment plans to help our out-of-state patients conquer their addictions and start on the path to sobriety and health. Florida’s relaxed, warm climate is the perfect setting for patients looking to begin a new chapter.

We see our clients as guests, not patients. We recognize that our clients have traveled a long way for our services because we are the best at what we do. We empathize with our clients’ long and arduous journeys toward recovery. We work with our clients until they’ve achieved full sobriety, and have coping mechanisms to beat their addictions. Our experts are trained in cutting-edge addiction treatment, and we offer a warm, welcoming environment for clients and their families.

The Treatment Center Treats the Whole Person

The Treatment Center of The Palm Beaches is a leader in addiction recovery excellence. Our treatment is holistic, taking in a client’s mind, body, and spirit, and working to heal all three. When this happens, a client can enjoy complete and long-lasting sobriety. We also offer help and support for addicted individuals’ loved ones, so everyone in a client’s life can maintain physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Contact us today, and we will get you and your loved ones on the road to recovery.

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