Salem, NH, is a pleasant area in which to live and work. The city boasts a low unemployment rate, and most of the town’s citizens have graduated high school with many continuing on to higher education. New Hampshire as a whole has one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the entire country. You can live in Salem and enjoy the lower tax burden while still being within driving distance of the big cities that offer all of the resources you need.
Although Salem has a high median income and is surrounded by many choice colleges and universities, it continues to struggle in one key area: Drug and alcohol use in this cozy community continues to be a prevalent problem. This is a problem around the country and one that continues to rise. While overall crime levels are low in this area, drug use and drug and alcohol-related deaths are high.
Reasons for Drug and Alcohol Use in Salem
New Hampshire is rated second in the country, tied with Ohio, for opioid-related deaths. One possible reason, as cited by the New York Times, is the proximity to Massachusetts. Massachusetts has been identified as the hub of drug distribution networks for the New England states, making drugs easily accessible for New Hampshire residents.
The low tax burden, while appealing in many respects, may also contribute to the overall drug problem. There is not enough money in the town and state’s budgets to create and sustain enough local drug treatment centers. Addiction treatment encompasses many aspects, from public education to medical treatment. Alongside this, there is also a shortage of doctors who are able to prescribe medication-assisted treatments. Other northeast states have an average of 15.5 doctors per 100,000 residents who can prescribe medication-assisted treatments while New Hampshire has 7 per 100,000 residents.
In general, New Hampshire has less public safety interventions than many other states. For instance, there is no seat belt law in New Hampshire, and motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets. This freedom to do as they want, regardless of their own health and safety, may lead Salem residents to not fear abuse of alcohol and drugs as they should. Even something such as increasing the amount of time spent educating the public about the dangers of drug and alcohol use may help local New Hampshire residents to see how truly dangerous these substances are, and could help to change their perception of the potential threat posed by drugs and alcohol.
How Drugs and Alcohol Cause Death
When you hear of deaths caused by drugs and alcohol, your first thoughts are probably either an overdose or a drunk-driving accident. However, there are many ways that the continued use of drugs and alcohol can cause death. Health experts have identified two separate categories of these deaths: chronic and acute. A chronic condition refers to an ongoing condition that happens over time. An acute condition is something that comes up suddenly. According to the CDC, in New Hampshire, the most prevalent chronic conditions that cause alcohol-related deaths are the following:
• Alcohol dependence syndrome
• Alcoholic liver disease
• Liver cirrhosis
The most prevalent acute causes include:
• Fall injuries
• Motor-vehicle traffic crashes
• Non-alcoholic poisoning
These are important points to understand when talking to your loved one about suspected or known excessive alcohol use. It can be easy for an addicted individual to make statements such as, “Well, I never drive drunk.” However, these statistics show that drinking excessive alcohol, whether it is an occasional instance or chronic problem, can cause death in many ways. Also, note that suicide is one of the acute effects of excessive drug and alcohol use. These substances affect your brain to such an extent that you may actually be convinced, at the moment, that suicide is the answer.
No one wants to see their loved one be harmed by the regular or heavy use of drugs or alcohol. Stepping in to offer help before a problem gets worse may even save their life. Part of offering help to a loved one with a potential substance use disorder means learning the indications that they may be using or drinking too much. If you can track your loved one’s behavior and identify patterns of addiction, if may be easier to convince them to enter a rehab program.
What Is Considered Excessive Drinking?
Alcohol as a whole is seen as an acceptable drink in society. Having a beer with friends or a glass of wine with dinner is not generally seen as a problem, so how do you determine if you or a loved one has crossed the line into excessive drinking? The CDC has established guidelines for the proper consumption of alcohol and also what is considered excessive drinking. First of all, any drinking by a pregnant woman or person who is under the age of 21 is considered excessive. The other two categories of excessive drinking are binge drinking and heavy drinking.
Binge drinking is excessive drinking during a single occasion. This means four or more alcoholic beverages consumed in one sitting for women and five or more for men. Sometimes, binge drinkers do not consider themselves alcoholics because they don’t drink all the time. However, binge drinking carries the same risk for disease and death as other heavy drinking.
Heavy drinking is when a person regularly consumes alcoholic beverages. This equals 8 or more beverages per week for women and 15 or more per week for men.
Using these guidelines, you can assess yourself or others around you to determine if they are drinking too much. One beer a day is not considered heavy drinking, but when this starts to extend to more than one beer a day, or several instances of binge drinking, a person may have crossed the line into addiction. Depending on the situation, you may not be able to confront your loved one on your own. Addicted individuals often have many excuses for their behavior or turn defensive and angry. You can contact a drug and alcohol addiction counselor in Salem, NH, for help to learn how to confront your loved one and encourage them to seek treatment. The sooner you can intervene, the more effective the treatment is likely to be.
Types of Treatment in Salem
There are 25 different drug and alcohol rehab facilities, of varying types, in and around Salem. Treatment centers can include short and long-term rehab, outpatient treatment centers and inpatient detox programs. Private facilities like Green Mountain Treatment Center offer evidence-based treatments that use proven therapies to treat addiction and sustain recovery. Research has shown that evidence-based treatment, along with a 12-step curriculum, has the best chance to restore addicted individuals to their previous life and become contributing members to society.
If your loved one has suffered from an overdose and been transferred to a hospital, you can request that they be released into an accredited treatment center. Simply tell the doctor which center you want him or her to go to, and they will assist you in making arrangements. When an addicted individual has been charged with drug or alcohol-related crimes, such as a DUI, they may be ordered to a treatment center as part of their sentence.
Medication-assisted Treatment in Salem, NH
Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, combines medications with counseling and other behavioral therapies to treat many types of substance use disorders. Research has proven that combining medication with therapy is more successful than medication alone or therapy alone. It can also sustain an addicted individual’s recovery with a minimal chance of relapse. MAT has traditionally been used for opioid addictions but has also been successfully used in alcohol addictions.
There has traditionally been a stigma surrounding MAT. Some people feel that they are trading one drug for another. However, doctors and researchers have adamantly opposed this way of thinking. All medications used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These are well-researched medications that normalize the brain’s chemistry, reduce the euphoric effects of drugs and relieve cravings. Most people don’t realize that their continued use of drugs or alcohol has actually changed the makeup of their brains. In order to get their brain back to their previous level of functioning, medications could be necessary.
MAT does not leave out therapy as this is an integral part of the recovery process. Therapy teaches the patient ways to avoid drugs in the future and to find healthy ways of handling stress that do not include turning back to drugs. There are many reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol, and the goal of therapy is to identify these reasons and work on eliminating them.
Green Mountain Treatment Center offers cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma therapy, and grief and loss therapy. One-on-one counseling sessions, group sessions and family sessions are all used to help the addicted individual through the various stages of recovery. It is important to include the person’s family during treatment. The people surrounding an addicted individual must also learn to recognize dangerous behaviors so that they can intervene as needed. Families have also suffered tremendously due to their loved one’s actions and should receive counseling to work through their own thoughts and feelings. Counseling only the addicted individual will not sustain long-term recovery as well as paying attention to their whole home environment.
Benefits of Receiving Treatment Through Green Mountain Treatment Center
Green Mountain Treatment Center is part of the Granite Recovery Centers in New Hampshire. These include separate facilities for men and women as well as facilities that accept and treat both genders. Treatment facilities include medical drug detox, extended care and intensive outpatient counseling. Evidence-based treatment is combined with a 12-step curriculum for the most effective drug treatment. Sober living homes are for recovering individuals to live in while they complete the transition back to society. They offer employment opportunities, social activities, skill-building workshops and continued 12-step meetings.
The sooner treatment is started, the better chance an addicted individual has at recovering from their disease. Living in Salem, you have easy access to many of these centers. If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, contact one of our treatment centers today. We have staff on hand to handle all incoming patients as soon as possible. You will not be cut off from your loved one. In fact, you will be an integral part of the treatment. Don’t let fear continue to run your life because help is only a quick phone call away.