Men and women from various backgrounds converged at Lewiston Middle School to discuss the heroin and opiate abuse epidemic. Most of them could not hide their frustration at the scary nature of this crisis with some saying that they do not even know what to do with their loved ones who seem to be falling deeper into addiction. That was, however, the purpose of the meeting and so, there was something for them to take home.
The panel was dominated by experts in this field and the audience was comprised of about sixty people. Roxanne, a mother who is trying to help her son who has been in addiction for over 15 years, said that the impact that opiates have on families is devastating. It is one of the most painful things she has had to live with and she wonders how long it will go on. It is like her son, though alive, no longer exists.
The attended agreed on various things and they seemed to all have the same problems as far as the opiate abuse can go. The rumbles of agreements spurred many suggestions. The numbers are sufficient to know that there is a serious problem both locally and in the entire state. It is reported that 272 people lost their lives across Maine because of overdoses in 2015 alone.
Experts Told Their Tales
One of the panelists was Dr. Michael Kelly who runs a private clinic. He narrated how he came on board about 18 years ago and the situation that he had to deal with. There were 17 alcoholics and a drug addict who wanted his help. Years later and the situation has turned around greatly. His facility now has 17 people who are seeking treatment for opioid addiction and only one is in for alcoholism.
What is even more worrying is the fact that the ability to treat the victims reduces as the crisis gets worse. The addicts do not want to seek help. For instance, the average admission wait for a drug addict, which used to be just two days, is now two months. The panelists all agreed that more efforts have to be done so as to make the opiate abusers understand that they need help.
From the discussion; it was revealed that many of the rehabs, detox centers and halfway houses that used to help the victims have closed their doors. One of the reasons behind this is the change in the insurance system which makes it difficult to finance the centers. According to Kelly, the resources have dwindled dramatically and the situation is incredibly frustrating.
Another panelist, Matt Cashman, who is a 20-year-old veteran at the Lewiston police force, said that he has seen the changes. He was particularly baffled by the type of recent addicts. Unlike the recent years when the habit was a preserve of the young urban folk, almost everyone is getting into opiate abuse. Whether young or old, male or female, city dweller or farm worker, it seems like everyone is affected by addiction.