Any time addiction is in the news, it is likely a story about heroin, fentanyl, or some other opiate. Communities across Louisville, Kentucky, and the nation are dealing with an epidemic – but it’s not a heroin epidemic. It’s an addiction epidemic.
National Public Radio recently published a story about how methamphetamine use is now at an all-time high. The transition from heroin and other opiates to meth is something we have seen in our detox units over the past two years.
We’re not talking about the meth from a few years ago. This meth isn’t cooked in a kitchen or a garage. It’s not a Breaking Bad situation. This meth is being manufactured in laboratories in Mexico and brought into the United States. In May, the Louisville Courier Journal reported that nearly 11,000 of the drug seizures submitted to the state crime lab in 2017 involved meth – more than heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine combined.
Around 99% of the men and women who come to detox at The Healing Place are polysubstance users, meaning their addiction involves multiple drugs and/or alcohol. During the detox intake process, staff will ask a client to identify their primary drug of addiction. In 2016, 40% of men and 48% of women identified heroin as their drug of addiction while 13% of men and 15% of women said it was meth. For the first nine months of 2018, 29% of men and 31% of women said heroin was their drug of addiction with 25% of men and 28% of women identifying meth.
Unlike opioids, there is no medical treatment to address addiction to methamphetamines. That’s why at The Healing Place, our focus is on the person, their addiction, and their behavior – not the specific drug.
The drugs will change but addiction will remain an issue for our community.