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Like any other State, Massachusetts has its share of substance abuse problems. But, also like any other State, Massachusetts' problems are a little different. For example, heroin use in Massachusetts can be considered high. In a survey of 75,436 Massachusetts residents, 37,399 admitted to heroin use. Of these, 71.4% heroin users were male, compared to 28.6% female. Heroin use was also reported as being higher among whites than any other ethnic group included in the survey.

Use of other illicit drugs, such as cocaine (both "crack" and in other forms), marijuana, and even methamphetamine was surprisingly low compared to the figures for heroin. Of those residents surveyed, only 4334 admitted to cocaine use in any form; marijuana use was only reported by 3,299, and only 79 of those surveyed reported meth use.

While conducting the survey, the compilers learned that when heroin is the "drug of choice", but is not readily available, users may try to find another drug, either illicit or prescription, whose use closely imitates the physical and mental feelings that are generated by heroin use.

Many heroin users have discovered that Oxycontin, a prescription drug used for pain relief, produces very similar effects to those of cocaine, and have begun to use it along with or in place of heroin. For this reason, the incidences of pharmacy robberies in Massachusetts have increased.

The fact that heroin use is high, coupled with the fact that many heroin users also turn to Oxycontin, can pose a challenge for the drug rehabilitation centers that are available in many areas of Massachusetts. Staff members may find themselves actually dealing with two separate addictions-one to heroin itself and another to Oxycontin.

In fact, it may be necessary for those who operate and work at drug rehabilitation centers to determine which addiction is strongest and has had the worst effect on a patient, both mentally and physically, before proceeding with treatment.

Because heroin is often injected directly into a vein, underlying physical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, or other communicable diseases may exist as well as the drug addiction. For this reason, it may be necessary for patients who have these or other conditions to enter into drug rehabilitation centers that can provide medical care as well as addiction recovery.

Both heroin and Oxycontin abuse require that patients undergo detoxification or withdrawal before beginning drug rehabilitation. Detox, as it is sometimes referred to, is very unpleasant and can even be life-threatening. Those who are seeking help for heroin or Oxycontin abuse may need to check with the drug rehabilitation center they are considering entering to see if admission will have to wait until the detoxification stage has passed as some centers do not accept patients who have not "detuned".

If a drug rehabilitation facility does not accept patients who have not undergone detoxification, this can delay starting treatment. Fortunately, some of the drug rehabilitation centers in Massachusetts are designed to take patients who have not undergone detoxification. Staff members can provide palliative care during the detoxification stage, and once that has passed; the patient can begin addiction treatment with no delay.

This can be especially good for those patients who may have been initially reluctant to see drug rehabilitation. Being able to remain at the same facility both during detox and throughout at least the initial, in-patient phase of the treatment program may provide less opportunity for the heroin/Oxycontin abuser to "change his mind", and decide not to continue with treatment.

A search of Massachusetts drug rehabilitation centers, either on the Internet or by other means will provide information on treatment clinics that can accommodate those going through detoxification, and those that are unable to do so. With this information, it will be easy for a heroin/Oxycontin user, or his loved ones, to find a treatment center that will suit his needs. Addiction recovery can then begin, with the ultimate goal of returning to a drug-free life.

http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/heroin/index.html
http://www.umass.edu/ewc/rr/iris_web/ewc40677aa.html

Massachusetts Drug Rebab Centers and Massachusetts Addiction Treatment Programs