Drugs in New Hampshire
Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Heroin and Marijuana are all problem drugs in New Hampshire and New Hampshire drug rehab programs are designed to help. Dominican traffickers are the main producers of cocaine and crack cocaine. Although heroin is supplied by the Dominican traffickers its only available in low street level amounts. The most sought after and widely distributed drug in New Hampshire is marijuana.
Cocaine and crack cocaine are available in grams at low-level and found in kilograms at some locations in the state. With Dominican traffickers dominating control over these drug, it is still being seen that some trafficking is coming in from Florida and Mexico border.
Heroin is widespread though out the state of New Hampshire. Dominican traffickers distribute high level quality heroin. This drug continues to grow and its availability never seems to stop.
Methamphetamines have been on the rise in New Hampshire over the last several years, but it seems to have leveled out and the availability stabilized
Marijuana is the most predominant drug in the state of New Hampshire. Most of the drug is coming in from the southwestern United States and is brought there from Mexico. Local whites are traveling weekly to pick up 250 to 350 pounds of this drug. Marijuana is also being found in mail packages in low quantity in the U.S. postal and other courier services.
According to a recent briefing from the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Service (BDAS) of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, heroin use is experiencing a seriously high surge among state residents. The rapid increase in use and abuse of this extremely addictive drug is approaching epidemic rates throughout the state and the United States. Official opinions are that this pronounced spike in usage rate may be partly attributed to the growing numbers of residents who were addicted to prescription opiates for pain treatment now changing to heroin use.
This factor has swiftly raised the numbers of individuals within the state now addicted to heroin. In addition, some heroin users choose or switch to this drug because it is less expensive and easier to acquire. Especially since it is acutely addictive and a street drug that can easily become dangerously contaminated, heroin use has recently resulted in a marked increase in deaths from abusive use and overdoses in New Hampshire and nationwide.
Major Drug Abuse Statistics for New Hampshire
The state of New Hampshire currently has the 26th highest statewide mortality rate from drug overdoses in the U.S. Among every 100,000 state residents, 11.8 percent die each year from excessive drug use. Although there is growing substance abuse of illicit drugs within the state, the majority of deaths caused by drug abuse are from abuse of prescription medications. The death rate has actually doubled since the year 1999. At that time the fatality rate from drug overdoses in New Hampshire in each 100,000 state residents was 4.3 percent. Substance abuse rates throughout the country are also twice the count of 1999 in 29 other states. In ten additional states, rates have tripled during the same period.
In a nationwide comparison of prescription drug abuse-curbing strategies indicators, New Hampshire scored five out of ten. Twenty-eight states along with Washington, DC, received a score of six or less. Highest scores of 10 were claimed by Vermont and New Mexico, while the lowest score of 2 went to South Dakota. The five strategy areas for curbing abuse of prescription medications for which New Hampshire scored points are:
• Existence of Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). – New Hampshire now has an active PDMP. A total of 49 states of the U.S. won a point in this category.
• Doctor Shopping Laws. – New Hampshire currently has active legislation forbidding patients to withhold their prescription drug history from any doctor or healthcare provider they consult. A total of 16 states received a point in this category.
• Physical Exam Requirement. – The state of New Hampshire has a current law specifying that all healthcare providers must perform an examination of any patient or have a well-recorded physician-patient relationship prior to prescribing controlled substances. In total, 44 states and the District of Columbia won a point in this category.
• ID Requirement. – New Hampshire has a current law mandating or allowing each pharmacist to request a patient ID before dispensing a prescription that is a controlled substance. A total of 32 states received a point in this category.
• Lock-In Programs. – Per the state Medicaid system, New Hampshire has a pharmacy lock-in program under which anyone who is a suspect concerning controlled substance abuse or misuse is allowed only one pharmacy and prescription provider.
Rising rates of abuse of heroin and prescription drugs throughout the state of New Hampshire from 2004 through 2011 are reported as follows:
PERCENTAGE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE RESIDENTS
AGE 12 AND OLDER REPORTING USE OF HEROIN FROM 2004-2005 AND 2010-2011
Years 2004-05: . . . . . . . . 1.2%
Years 2010-11: . . . . . . . . 3.3%
NUMBER OF PATIENTS ADMITTED TO STATE-FUNDED DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS FOR HEROIN AND PRESCRIPTION OPIATE ABUSE FROM 2004-2005 AND 2010-2013
Year . . . . . .Heroin Abusers . . . . . RX Opiates Abusers
2004 – 2005 . . . . 213 . . . . . . . . . . . . 805
2010 – 2011 . . . 1,297. . . . . . . . . . . .1,540
In current modern society, youths and older drug misusers can gain instant connections to illegal drug outlets and dealers via the Internet, mobile digital devices and cellular phones. They often start using and abusing alcohol and illicit or prescription drugs at early ages, even during childhood or pre-teen years. Often, the earlier an individual starts using harmful drugs, the more likely they are to continue until they are seriously addicted, harmfully affected or even deceased. Many addicts who survive experience a whole host of personal and societal problems, endure illness and injuries and become problematic members of their communities. One encouraging fact is that, although the numbers of substance abusers and addicts is increasing, there is also an upswing in the number of addicts now benefiting from treatments and recovery programs.
Current Drug Use and Abuse Trends in New Hampshire
Aside from the recent increase in the excessive use and abuse of heroin and prescription opiates in New Hampshire, there is a steady rise in the current usage of synthetic drugs. Often packaged and sold as bath salts or herbal incense, these substances can easily be bought via the Web, or in tobacco shops, gas stations, convenience shops and drug accessory and paraphernalia boutiques. During 2011, the National Institute on Drug Abuse issued a report revealing that one in every nine seniors in high school had used synthetic marijuana (K2 or Spice) sometime within the past year. This gave synthetic weed the second-rated recreational drug used in this age group (second only to natural marijuana).
Due to this rise in usage of such synthetic drugs, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration placed five synthetic cannabinoids along with three varieties of bath salts on Schedule I controlled substances. Adverse effects of synthetic drug usage include hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, tachycardia, spikes in blood pressure and acute agitation.
Adverse effects of synthetic drug usage include hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, tachycardia, spikes in blood pressure and acute agitation. In July, 2012, President Obama signed legislation naming various synthetic drugs as illegal. However, although this has been a deterrent to some hidden sales of these synthetic drugs as compositional parts of legal consumer products like potpourri, incense and plant food, illegal synthetic drugs can still be bought. These synthetics are frequently promoted as enablers of a “safe high.” However, they can cause serious physical and mental harm.
Although the most frequently used illicit drug in New Hampshire during 2010 was methadone, and oxycodone during 2011, heroin became the number one drug most often used and abused in the state in 2012. Since then this dangerous and often debilitating substance has continued to be the highest threat to the health and lives of drug abusers in the state. Through 2012, the majority of heroin-overdose fatalities were primarily in the state’s southern regions, including such communities in Hillsborough County as Nashua and Manchester. Other areas reporting high rates of heroin-related deaths were Cheshire, Grafton and Merrimack counties.
One major dangerous aspect of injecting heroin today is the constant uncertainty of how strong each dose is and what other substances it may be mixed with. Most heroin that users and addicts obtain today is a much more concentrated type than was available ten or twenty years ago. Also, many heroin abusers today are younger social and recreational drug experimenters and users who may avoid help or drug intervention programs.
The majority of deaths in New Hampshire caused by abuse of methadone or oxycodone are mainly among individuals aged 40 to 60. In many cases they began taking these medications as painkillers following a serious injury, illness or surgical procedure. After experiencing addiction to such drugs, these older patients and drug users often seek rehabilitation and ongoing drug recovery programs. While this sector of the state’s population suffering from narcotics addiction will seek treatment willingly, younger abusers of these drugs often do not. To them, the recreational “high” they get from dangerous drug use is more attractive than guarding against loss of good health and even life.
Lack of community and statewide involvement and action toward alleviating serious addiction and death attributed to substance abuse of narcotics and other dangerous drugs is often blamed on apathy or lack of education and focus on the current severity of drug abuse. However, officials of New Hampshire’s Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Abuse report cutbacks in funding as a major setback in improving the high rates of abuse and death from drug overdoses.
There is some optimism about future budgetary spending for more widespread availability of drug addiction rehab and ongoing treatment for state residents. In addition, New Hampshire has been awarded grant funding specifically for drug rehabilitation programs for former prisoners and military veterans. There is also hope that President Obama’s current healthcare plan may provide easier access to rehab programs for substance abusers and addicts.
Reports of Crime and Health Issues in New Hampshire Directly Related to Drug Abuse
In Manchester, New Hampshire, during 2012, law enforcement members performed a drug raid reported as one of the largest to date throughout the state. More than 300 grams of heroin were confiscated, equal to an estimated street value of $30,000. Also in 2012, 704 incidents (or 13%) of traffic intervention or arrest resulting in urine/blood resting involved the drug heroin. There have also been substantial rises in numbers of robberies, assaults, burglaries and vandalism connected to illicit drug sales and abuse.
From 2010 to 2013, heroin-related fatalities in the state increased from 14 to 45. These deaths were primarily among young adult males aged 20 to 29. Many other occurrences of illness or death were reported from HIV and Hepatitis related to contaminated syringe use by heroin addicts. New Hampshire also reported a rise in the numbers of babies born with opiate withdrawal symptoms due to drug abuse problems among young women and teenage girls.
Most Commonly Used Illegal Drugs and Substances in New Hampshire
The most commonly used and abused illicit drugs and other substances in the state of New Hampshire include:
• Heroin. – Heroin is a powerful depressant that inhibits the brain’s capacity to perceive the presence of pain in the body while distorting perceptions of pleasure. It is derived from the opiate morphine, which comes from opium poppies. It is sold as a powder that may be anywhere from white to deep brown in color, or sometimes in a consistency similar to tar.
Heroin Use: This drug may be used in numerous ways by drug abusers. It can be injected into veins by syringe, known as mainlining. Heroin can also be injected into muscle tissue, smoked in tobacco or water pipes, smoked in cigarettes in combination with tobacco or marijuana, snored as powder or inhaled via straws in the form of smoke. This last method is called “chasing the dragon.”
Short-term Effects. – Short-term effects of heroin usage include a rapid rush or euphoric sensation and flushing effect of skin. Subsequent effects may be weighty extremities, dryness of mouth and throat, drowsiness, dulled mental activity, slurred speech, constricted pupils of the eyes, blurred vision and vomiting.
Long-term Effects – Heroin addicts often develop heart valve infections, collapsed veins, liver disease, pneumonia, respiratory depression, obstructed blood vessels and abscesses. After reaching drug tolerance levels, abusers need higher doses, developing heroin dependency and addiction. Serious withdrawal symptoms usually occur if drug dosages are decreased or stopped. Withdrawal symptoms can include aches and pains of muscles and bones, insomnia, diarrhea or vomiting, goose bumps called “cold turkey”, involuntary kicking called “kicking the habit,” and severe drug cravings. In serious cases of heroin addiction, sudden drug withdrawal may even result in death.
Federal Classification. – Heroin is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Street Names for Heroin. – Big H, Smac, Skag, Horse, Dope, Junk, Muc, Brown Sugar and Blacktar.
• Cocaine. – The drug cocaine is an extract from coca plant foliage. As a potent brain stimulant, it is a highly addictive substance. Cocaine is commonly available in two major forms. It is often sold as cocaine hydrochloride, a white crystallized powder. The other popular form of this drug is “crack,” cocaine hydrochloride that is processed using either ammonia or sodium bicarbonate and water to from freebase cocaine as chunks, rocks or smaller chips.
Drug Use. – Cocaine users either snort the drug or dissolve it in water and inject it via a syringe. Crack cocaine can also be smoked.
Short-Term Effects. – Common effects of short-term usage of cocaine may be narrowing of peripheral blood vessels, pupil dilation, elevated body temperature and heart rate, higher blood pressure, irritability, anxiety and insomnia. Euphoria experienced quickly upon using this drug is manifested as energy spikes and mental acuteness. With rapid absorption of cocaine by the body’s system, the “high” is intensified. However, whenever absorption is rapid, the duration of the “high” is short. Most “highs” experienced from snorting cocaine will subside within 15 ro 3o minutes. Users who smoke crack experience shorter “highs” of from 5 to 10 minutes. Once effects of this drug subside in the brain, cocaine users usually “crash,” feeling fatigued, moody and depressed.
Long-Term Effects. – Frequent or long-term use of cocaine in increasing amounts can cause serious paranoia. Crack smokers may display heightened paranoia as overly aggressive actions. Long-term cocaine snorters may develop ulcerated nasal mucous membranes.
Federal Classification. – Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Street Names. – Big C, Coke, Blow, Flake, Snow, Rock, Lady, Nose Candy, White Crack
• Ecstasy. – Ecstasy or MDMA is a synthetic stimulant drug producing hallucinogenic effects like amphetamines. Its chemical name is 3-4-methylenedioxymethampheta-mine. Available in tablet form, ecstasy is most often branded as Nike swoosh, CK or Playboy bunnies.
Drug Use. – Especially since ecstasy is sold in convenient tablet form, it is a popular social drug at parties, dances and social clubs as a mood enhancer.
Short-Term Effects. – Ecstasy users experience elevated levels of self-confidence, mood and energy. They have feelings of empathy for and acceptance of other people and have the desire to be close to and touch others. Users may also have increased heart rates and blood pressure, dehydration and hyperthermia. They may experience teeth clenching, blurred vision and chills or sweating. Cardiovascular failure has caused some ecstasy-related deaths.
Long-Term Effects. – Long-term usage of Ecstasy may inhibit production of serotonin in the brain. This can cause ongoing problems in regulating appetite, pain, mood and memory. Learning difficulties are also a result of Ecstasy abuse.
Federal Classification. – Ecstasy is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by NIDA and the DEA.
Street Names. – Ecstasy is known on the street as Adam, Molly, Roll, E, and XTC.
• Methamphetamine. – Meth is a stimulant drug that causes heightened brain activity and is strongly addictive. Meth is usually sold as a crystallized powder or in rock form. Its color ranges from white to light yellow.
Drug Use. – Methamphetamine can be used orally, snorted, smoked or injected by syringe.
Short-Term Effects. – Short-term effects of meth include intense feelings called rushes or flashes, highs followed by agitation or violent reactions, insomnia, anxiety, and even convulsions or heart attack.
Long-Term Effects. – Users often reach drug tolerance of this addictive substance quickly. This may lead to drug binges in order to maintain a “high.” Long-term use can result in hallucinations, paranoia, delusions and compulsive activity and toxic psychosis manifesting as violent and harmful behavior. Chronic usage may lead to strokes and death.
Federal Classification. – Meth is classified as a Schedule II drug by NIDA and DEA.
Street Names. – Street names for meth are crank, croak, chalk, crystal, glass, white cross and tweek.2
There are currently several major reasons for the heightened use and abuse of both illegal drugs and prescription medications in New Hampshire, including peer pressure during youth and addiction from overuse of prescribed pain medications. Especially during teenage and college years, students tend to follow social patterns, drinking and drug habits of their peer group. Social use of harmful, illicit drugs can lead to habitual usage and to serious addiction. In middle and later adulthood, people often turn to use of illegal drugs and misuse of prescription medications to fight depression, stress and long-term pain. In today’s often hectic, fast-paced society, many people fall into the harmful habit of drug abuse leading to addiction and ill health. Additional treatment and education facilities are now needed to aid in combatting and solving this serious health issue in New Hampshire.
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