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2014 Drug Trends in Connecticut

In 2010 over 50,000 people went into drug treatment in Connecticut. This reflects the continued rise in drug use in the state. It is fast becoming in the states in the US with the highest overall demographic of drug abuse that crosses age, race, and class; plus the highest percentage of overall drug use. Connecticut officials have implemented various legislations and programs over the past 10 years in an attempt to stem the drug culture there, but it has not statistically proven to have been effective. While all of the commonly abused drugs have a presence in the state, Connecticut has a higher percentage of combined alcohol and heroin abuse than almost any other state in the nation.

Why is alcohol and heroin abuse on the rise in Connecticut?

Much of the reason that heroin has experienced a resurgence in popularity amount drug users has been the success of the opioid control programs instituted in the state. Ten years ago Connecticut faced a growing problem with prescription drug abuse and they took measures to regulate and control opioid drugs. The most common opioid drugs abused in 2006 in Connecticut where OxyContin and Vicodin. The numbers of people using prescription drugs illegally, as well as the amount of opioid drugs available on the black market has faller – but this has pushed heroin back to the forefront. Heroin is easily found and inexpensive to buy. It offers a similar high to an opioid and is often used by dedicated opioid addicts when they cannot afford their drug of choice. Combined with a native population that has a high instance of alcohol abuse, the rates of combined alcohol and heroin abuse have tripled over the past 10 years.

What other drugs are of concern in Connecticut?

Along with heroin and alcohol, there are other illegal drugs in Connecticut that are cause for concern. The next primary drugs of abuse include cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Crack cocaine and marijuana have the strongest presence with over 4,000 people having sought treatment for a marijuana addiction within the past year. All of these drugs have been present in statistics gathered on DUI but the combination of alcohol and heroin has been the most common. Despite the rise of heroin in the state there is still a significant population using illegal prescription drugs. Most of the respondents reported that they obtained these prescription drugs through direct purchase of the street, or stole them from facilities or family members.


Who uses the most drugs in Connecticut?

Connecticut has a high youth population using alcohol, marijuana and heroin. In the past few years there have been more children and young teens experimenting with heroin than with marijuana, but the majority of teens report that they will use marijuana on a regular basis. The estimated use rate for those 12 to 18 years of age is 78% with having tried marijuana within the past year, 64% reporting trying heroin and over 60% using marijuana and/or illegal prescription drugs within the past 30 days. In this age group the prescription drugs are most often obtained from family members or from friends. The next highest age bracket for illegal drug use is ages 24 to 34, with alcohol and heroin being the drug combination of choice – with a higher percent of use than any other single drug.


What about those with a dual diagnosis?

One of the other issues that Connecticut is struggling with in increasing numbers is the increase of those with a dual diagnosis. The dual diagnosis means that there is a drug addiction and mental illness present in the person. Most of the treatment facilities in the state have special programs to assist those dealing with both problems to successfully recover and live healthy lives. The rising population with dual diagnosis is creating a burden on the prison and judicial system. It is estimated that 48% of those incarcerated have a dual diagnosis that is not receiving treatment while in prison.

Are drugs getting better or worse in Connecticut?

The drug abuse and addiction rates in Connecticut are climbing at an alarming rate. It is ranking as one of the states with the highest use of heroin and alcohol by the youngest groups as well. The majority of the drugs trafficked into the state are originating in the mid-west and central state cities.

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