New Hampshire Addiction Treatment
New Hampshire residents who are suffering from an alcohol or drug use disorder are not alone. Since the 1990s, the United States has been experiencing an overdose epidemic of alarming proportions. In 2018, the U.S. saw its first decline in overdose deaths related to opioids since the epidemic began, which is good news. The issue is that the rates from 2018 were still far higher than the rates from 1999. The United States has taken action against the opioid epidemic, and so have individual states like New Hampshire.
The Centers for Disease Control found that from 2017 to 2018, there was a 4% decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths. In 2018, there was a:
• Total of 67,367 overdose deaths, 70% of them involved an opioid
• 2% decrease in opioid-involved death rates from 2017
• 13.5% decrease in prescription opioid-involved death rates
• 4% decrease in heroin-involved death rates
The only opioid category that saw an increase was synthetic opioids not including methadone. These opioids have become extremely potent due to fentanyl. Fentanyl is several times more powerful than a basic pain killer. Since fentanyl can be procured illegally, it is processed, manufactured and sold at alarming rates on the black market.
New Hampshire has been hit particularly hard with overdose deaths. So much so that cities and the state have launched several programs and initiatives. The National Institute on Drug Abuse collected data for every state. For New Hampshire, the institute found in 2018 that:
• 412 deaths occurred due to opioid-related overdoses
• 386 deaths occurred due to synthetic opioids overdoses
• 43 deaths occurred due to prescription opioids
Most of these figures have remained steady in New Hampshire over the last two years. However, one category that has improved is prescription opioids. In 2016, there were 89 deaths. Providers only wrote 46.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons in 2018. This rate was lower than the national average of 51.4. Plus, it was the lowest number of prescriptions for the state since 2006.
Whether it starts from legal prescriptions or illicit narcotics, substance use disorder brings about many risks. Drugs and prescriptions can easily be misused. Users who decide to inject a substance increase their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. There was no data available just for New Hampshire, but for the United States, there were an estimated 38,226 new HIV diagnoses in 2017 due to individuals who participated in injection drug use. In terms of Hepatitis C, the research estimated that there were 44,700 new cases of acute HCV. An estimated 7,700 people are living in New Hampshire with HCV from cases that occurred between 2013-2016.
According to estimated data from the Census, New Hampshire had a population of 1,359,711 in 2019. The median age is 42.2 years old. Ages 5-18 make up 19% of the population while the 65 years or older make up 18.1% of the population. The poverty rate is just under 8%, and the median household income is $74,000. These are great numbers for a state, but they show that addiction can happen to anyone and any demographic.
Based on research completed by agencies that work with the CDC, it is believed that the best way to prevent an overdose is to improve prevention. Experts recommend:
• Prescription practice improvements
• Opioid exposure reduction
• Misuse prevention
• Opioid use disorder treatment
Substance use disorders impact individuals of all ages. However, the problem has gotten worse among teens, youth and college students. This is troublesome because the NIDA believes that the brain is not fully formed until a person reaches their 20s. Several statistics about teens are gathered in order to identify trends and groups that are more susceptible to addiction.
The Monitoring the Future survey is conducted on an annual basis. From 2002-2008, the survey found that:
• One out of 8 high school seniors used prescription opioids nonmedically
• Seven out of 10 nonmedical users had combined prescription opioids with at least one other substance
• 58.5% mixed an opioid with marijuana
• 52.1% mixed an opioid with alcohol
• Cocaine, tranquilizers and amphetamines were also mixed with opioids at lesser rates, 10.6%, 10.3%, and 9.5% respectively
New Hampshire, like other states, recognized that its overdose epidemic had to be addressed. The Granite State set up several initiatives and programs. One was the Strategy for Reducing the Misuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Promoting Recovery from 2013-2017 that took a look at the behavior of young adults ages 18-25. They found that:
• 73.2% were drinking, which was above the national average
• 49.3% were binge drinking, which was above the national average
• 46.1% were smoking, which was above the national average
This particular report pointed out that the behaviors of young adults in terms of alcohol, smoking and drugs were important. Since individuals have been dying from overdoses or requiring treatment, the data and situation could not be treated as young adults just having a good time anymore. One belief is that the behavior and attitudes toward alcohol and drugs were irresponsible due to peer pressure and social media. Young adults were actually glorifying the behavior because they can post it online for approval by their peers.
The young adult population is the largest workforce now. If they are developing addiction and mental health issues due to substance use disorders, society could suffer. Addiction leads to a loss in productivity, which is bad for everyone. Based on its findings, the New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse took action. The result was a list of best practices aimed at businesses, law enforcement and higher education as well as the health and medical field.
Treatment Options for Substance Use Disorder
Treatment services that can be found in New Hampshire include:
• Intensive outpatient
• Partial hospitalization
• Withdrawal management
• Peer and non-peer recovery support services
These services can be paid for through public funds, public insurance and private insurance sources. The state has placed a focus on improving and training individuals who can provide prevention, intervention and treatment services to those in need. On June 30, 2019, the NH DHHS founded the New Hampshire Recovery House Registry. The state also launched the New Hampshire Recovery Hub, which is a centralized online resource. Its purpose is to connect residents with local Peer Recovery Support Services.
Why Addiction Occurs
While there’s a genetic component that predisposes some to addiction, experts debate how strong this can be. The medical and rehab field do know, however, that substances such as alcohol, opioids and cocaine change the central nervous system and brain every time they are consumed.
National Institute on Drug Abuse has published findings that address how addiction occurs. Many believe that addiction and substance use disorder are caused by a disease that is similar to a chronic condition. The medical field is confident that substances re-wire the brain. Based on those findings, treatments for use disorders have changed. There are more options. Within each option, plans are customized so that every patient has the greatest chance of recovery.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, one patient may be deemed a good candidate for an outpatient program while another will be encouraged to enter a 30-day inpatient program.
Patients who are referred to an inpatient program might consider a center such as the Green Mountain Treatment Center in New Hampshire. Here is an overview of what a patient can expect at a private rehab center.
Before a patient can begin recovery, the body has to be free of the substance of choice. If a patient experiences serious withdrawal symptoms during a therapy session, the treatment is not going to be very effective. This is why completing detoxification is one of the first steps of a recovery program.
The withdrawal process varies for each patient. The intensity depends on the length of time the substance of choice was consumed as well as the substance itself. Meth has a longer withdrawal period than cocaine, for example.
Medical detox at a rehab center is encouraged for several reasons. Not everyone makes it out of withdrawal. When the toughest symptoms set it, someone who is fighting addiction can easily find themselves hallucinating, filled with anxiety and experiencing heart palpitations. These symptoms, among others, are common but very intense. Detoxing at a facility gives a patient access to a medical staff around the clock for this phase. Your vitals will be monitored. You’ll also be made to feel as comfortable as possible during withdrawal. There could be sweats, loss of appetite and a rise in your body temperature. This is something that a patient does not have to go through alone.
Individualized Treatment Plan
Whether you enter an outpatient or inpatient program, after an evaluation, a treatment plan is going to be designed for you. At Green Mountain Treatment Center, you may be asked to attend cognitive behavioral therapy as well as counseling. Other patients may have to attend anger management sessions and PTSD therapy sessions. This is a residential primary drug rehab program that accepts both genders. The genders are separated, though, so that a level of comfort is still achieved. Plus, the center is located in a secluded and serene area of New Hampshire near the White Mountains and Lakes region.
Green Mountain Treatment Center utilizes the 12-step program philosophy. This method has helped people all over the world through recovery. There is truth to if a patient works the system, the system will work. By using a curriculum that focuses on the 12-steps, a patient has structure. This is when patients receive the opportunity to face their addiction head-on. The goal is to understand how you fell into the addiction in the first place. Whether it was peer pressure or trauma, the root has to be addressed in order to achieve long-term recovery down the road.
Rehabilitation from substance use disorder has evolved due to the findings that research has provided. Before, it was a one-size-fits-all approach. Today, all patients are given the attention and tools they need because every situation is unique. Rehab is also not as stringent as it used to be. At Green Mountain Treatment Center, administrators work yoga, meditation and experiential adventure therapy into recovery plans.
During holistic therapy, a focus is placed on healing the mind and spirit, too. The goal is to strengthen the body, calm the mind and enrich the spirit without the aid of substances. Recovery specialists try to focus on physical discomforts, boosting feel-good endorphins and promoting restful sleep. These are the things that people with good health tend to do, and they do them without consuming alcohol or drugs. Therefore, patients are taught to get back to a good place that does not require chemical substances.
Entering an inpatient program at a private rehab facility can feel like you are attending a resort. However, the work requires commitment and focus. During the program, counselors will aim to help you understand your triggers. When you return home, you’ll have the tools that help you cope, resist and exit uncomfortable and tempting situations.
The staff at Green Mountain Treatment Center aims to help each patient build a solid foundation that supports long-term sobriety. The programs are about building lasting recovery so that a patient can be productive for themselves and loved ones.
Those experiencing an addiction to a substance are not alone. Helps is readily available at the local and state level.