Costa Mesa, California; 14, October 2015: Leading Costa Mesa women's-only rehab facility New Directions for Women has announced a new page describing a new record for needle exchanges that's been set in the state of Maine via that state's needle exchange program. The Main program is currently running out of the India Street health center in Portland, ME -- the goal of the program is to keep contaminated needles that result from drug use off the streets.
A report for the Maine legislature created by the state's Department of Health and Human Services notes that the past 5 years have seen the number of people enrolled in the state's needle exchange programs go up almost 225 percent, jumping from 1,238 people in 2010 to 4,050 people last year.
In the four years ranging from 2010 until 2014, the rate of needle exchanges went up 238, jumping up to 654,847. The rise in needle use clearly indicates there is a great deal of heroin being used.
The number of heroin-overdose related deaths has also gone up recently, from 7 deaths in 2011 to 28 deaths in 2012 and then 34 deaths in 2013, according to Maine state officials.
People who live in Maine who use drugs are apparently actively looking for residential treatment for their heroin addiction, according to the Maine Press Herald. Maine's Office of Substance Abuse reports the numbers who are currently seeking treatment jumped by a factor of three from 1,115 up to 3,463.
According to Erika Ziller, a research associate at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, addicts who interact with addiction program workers often find that those interactions get them on the path to changing their behavior.
Needle exchange programs, like the one operated by the state of Maine, are even able to help more people realize they need to seek out residential addiction treatment, Ziller added.
Needle exchange programs to help protect users of drugs such as heroin were originally launched to help protect general public health against the spread of diseases like Hepatitis C or HIV, both of which are often transmitted by needle sharing.
It's true that some people believe needle exchange programs enable people who struggle with a heroin addiction to keep their addiction going. It's also been found that many exchange programs have been created in regions with higher heroin use concentrations, such as urban communities. By putting programs in these areas, people who live in more rural areas don't have access to exchange programs -- meaning they're more likely to engage in unhealthy forms of drug use.
The benefits of needle exchange programs focus on public health: minimizing the spread of infectious disease among the public. People who work in the exchange programs can also refer addicts to treatment centers which help people struggling with a heroin addiction.
If you, or someone that you know, currently struggle with addiction to heroin, treatment is available. New Directions for Women helps women detox as well as find sustained, long-term wellness away from any heroin addiction.
About New Directions for Women:
New Directions is a holistic, womens-only treatment facility for all kinds of addiction, which offers help to women regardless of age and women with children as well as pregnant women. New Directions has more than 30 years experience helping women recover from substance use disorder.