As the world steps into a new year, the evils of drug abuse tag along us. The Red Apple, just like the rest of the world, suffers from illicit drug use across varying age groups and social classes. The five boroughs of New York are heavily drenched in drug abuse, be it cocaine, heroin, opioids, marijuana or even prescription drugs. Sadly these appear to be much more lethal than a gun. Across the United States, including New York, deaths from overuse of drugs have shown an exponential rise. From 9 deaths per 100,000 people in 2003 to 15 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, more people seem to die out of drug overdose than other causes of death.
In a recent study, the death rates of white adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have increased drastically as compared to most Hispanic groups. Conversely, deaths resulting from heart disease, HIV and cancer went down over the past decade.
While professionals throng New York in numbers seeking a better future, the city suffers from a reputation of being a heroin trafficking center. Heroin, because of its traits of high solubility and easy adulteration, seems to be highly profitable for narcotic suppliers. The trend has also changed from intravenous consumption to intranasal usage of heroin over the past years. From Hispanics to whites, the drug seems to have taken all ages and social-economic classes under its spell.
Moreover, New York acts as a major entry point and distribution channel across the United States for heroin. Heroin is smuggled into New York by Mexican drug mafias. Once this white powder reaches heroin-houses in the city, it is quantified and packaged into envelopes. Finally, heroin vendors get to work and spread the poison throughout the five boroughs. Surprisingly, these drug centers are located in residential homes in north Manhattan, Bronx and other neighborhoods. Heroin is sold with names in the market ranging from Google to Homicida, X-men and even First Lady.
After heroin, cocaine is the second popular drug seized by drug administration authorities. Although the amount seized in 2013 (32.2%) seems to have dropped from 2012 (34.5%), many in rehab still seem to be struggling with addiction to cocaine. Cocaine has a reputation of being a highly addictive drug and was once known as the glamor drug. For most cocaine users, marijuana was a secondary drug to rely on, but now patterns have changed.
Marijuana is a widely used illicit drug that was not as popular in the nineties. But today marijuana drug abuse in New York City seems to be at an alarming level. In the first half of 2013, about 33.6% of drug reports indicated marijuana usage. Although the figure remains the same as the previous year, it still represents a higher percentage than any other drug.
The synthetic drug, Methamphetamine, is still at lower levels as compared to other drugs when it comes to consumption. In 2013, methamphetamines ranked 11th among all drug reports as compared to 16th place from 2012. This trend shows an alarming increase in the usage of this drug.
Drug abuse is an epidemic that has badly hit New York. Many people start out with prescription drugs and later on move to heroin. When you stop using prescription drugs, you feel withdrawal symptoms that are most often controlled by using heroin. Heroin is a relatively cheap drug compared to prescription drugs. Not only does the misuse of prescription drugs cause addiction, but also death. Among young adults from the ages of 18 to 25, the wrong use of prescription drugs is most common, with teenagers also starting to show interest as they start to attend parties. In New York, contrary to unintentional drug poisoning deaths, there has been an alarming increase in opioid analgesic poisoning death rates. By 2012, Staten Island suffered an increase of 233 percent in opioid analgesic poisoning deaths.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy Programs in New York has come up with prevention plans to reduce the abuse of drugs. These include state-run monitoring programs, providing knowledge and education to healthcare providers and patients, and disposal of unused and inessential medicines from homes, among others.
There are also youth programs that deliver persuasive messages to the younger generation about drug use and its disastrous consequences. Much effort is needed to assist local groups in their respective communities to help youth out of the drug crises.
It is true that we cannot control all the drug flow into New York, but by educating the public, especially teenagers about its repercussions, we can spread the word on why it is better to be sober for a healthy society.
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