Death Clusters in Massachusetts
Recently, the state of Massachusetts released data that suggested that the overall fatal overdose statistic was declining, showing some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The state reported a 4 percent reduction in overdose deaths, but the information seems to be skewed or incorrect or just improperly reported. Some towns have shown a decrease in deaths while other towns showed serious increases. Known as “death clusters,” these are small, concentrated areas where overdose deaths have spiked. So while some areas of the state are doing better, other parts are still being tragically affected by drugs and overdoses.
The other interesting piece of information that comes out of the new Massachusetts tally is that overdose deaths among women have increased and they transcend all race barriers. Currently, the death rate of women is rising for the first time in the epidemic while the male death rate is staying fairly static.
Governor Charlie Baker said, “While we remain encouraged that opioid-related overdose deaths have declined over the last two years, the epidemic continues to present very real challenges across Massachusetts that are made worse by the presence of fentanyl, cocaine and amphetamines.”
As if opioids weren’t bad enough, even the governor is concerned by the surge of problems caused by cocaine and amphetamines/methamphetamine. It seemed like we had begun to handle the problem caused by one drug, and now issues with two others have started to pop up.
The governor did say that he’s working with state legislature put more money into drug treatment and prevention, which is a good sign that the Bay State’s government is working hard at trying to come up with some solutions to the problem. I just hope it’s not going to just be a bunch of money funneled into medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and things of that nature. I hope some money gets put towards making workable treatment solutions more widely available to those who need them most. Now, more than ever, there’s a need for drug treatment and rehabilitation options that work for more than just the select few. I’ll never knock any treatment that helps people, because, the whole idea is that people get help, but I do know that some methods work better than others.
We need to stop making MAT and meetings the “gold standard” of drug treatment because, while those methodologies have been touted for many years, it doesn’t mean they are the best options. In my opinion, the best option is going to be the one that not only gets a person off of ALL drugs and totally clean, but one that doesn’t allow the addict to switch addictions and actually works towards getting to the root of a person’s problem. Because no matter what anyone has told you, you can get completely clean. You can live a relatively normal life and put your addiction into the past.