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If you ever visited Washington, DC, you may not have been aware that you only a short drive (approximately 45 minutes to one hour) away from Baltimore, one of Maryland's largest cities. Its close proximity to our Nation's capital, as well as the entire state's geographic location, makes Maryland a fairly easy state to get from many different areas of the country.

This ease of access also makes it easy for illicit drugs to be brought into Maryland, and this, along with other factors, plays a part in the substance abuse problem among some of Maryland's residents, as evidence in a recent survey.
The survey was conducted with 60,671 residents of Maryland. The participants were asked about substance abuse as it related to them, and statistics were compiled from the resulting information. The respondents were asked about their use of alcohol alone, as well as if they used alcohol as well as other substances of abuse. They were also asked if they used cocaine, and if so, in what form ("crack", powder, or other) did they use it. They were also asked about marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine use.

Two very surprising results came from this survey. The first one was that heroin use surpassed the other forms of drug abuse, except for alcohol (both alone and "with secondary drug" as the survey category was listed). Even then, the difference was very slight. 17,633 Maryland residents reported using heroin, as compared to 23,660 who reported using alcohol, either alone or "with secondary drug". The difference was only 6,027.

The real shocker, however, came from the results that were recorded in the column designated for counting methamphetamine (meth) abuse. None of the 17,633 Maryland residents surveyed reported that they used meth, or had been admitted to any of the numerous Maryland facilities that provided help for drug addiction.

In the opening statements concerning the drugs included in the survey, the survey compilers wrote that methamphetamine use was not considered a major problem in Maryland. That is obviously true. Heroin use, however, does seem to be an issue in Maryland, and its use is almost evenly split among males and females. Of the 17,633 residents who admitted to heroin use, 56.4% were male and 43.5% were female.

Unfortunately, according to the survey, heroin use appears to be more prevalent among those who consider their ethnic origin as Black or African-American. 60.7% of heroin users were listed in that category; only 38.1% were listed in the White category. Heroin use among other ethnic groups included in the survey was reported to be less that 1%.

Perhaps those who provide drug addiction services for Maryland residents can use these figures to determine if there are specific things that could be included in their drug addiction programs that would address this issue. These could include checking to make sure that current payment plans are sufficient so that drug addiction treatment for African-Americans and everyone else needing it, are affordable enough so that it will be easier financially to seek help.

Those who work at drug addiction clinics, especially those which are specifically designed for those between 12 and 17 years of age (this was one of the age categories used in the survey) can make sure that drug addiction treatment includes addressing social and family issues with all adolescents who are in a drug addiction program. If necessary, depending on the patient's race or ethnic origin, specific issues indicative to their ethnicity can be talked about, to see if any of those may have played a part in a teen's substance abuse problem.

Individual therapy sessions may provide a better opportunity to discuss home and family issues than group therapy sessions. Adolescents may (erroneously) feel ashamed or embarrassed at the way they live or even with where they live, and be reluctant to share this information with others. A drug addiction counselor can use individual therapy sessions to work on these issues.

http://www.justice.gov/ndic/pubs3/3843/index.htm
http://www.smcm.edu/hr/HRdocuments/Payroll/payroll_documents/subabusepolicy.pdf

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