The use and abuse of prescription opioids (pain medications) and the illicit use of heroin and fentanyl led to over 385 deaths in New Hampshire in 2015. The addictive qualities of these drugs release powerful endorphins that give a sense of euphoria and craving for more. Clearly, it is a crisis requiring the concerted efforts of many disciplines to be able to address and control it.
I attended a recent loss control meeting conducted by the NH Motor Transport Association where the featured speakers were DEA agents. They were most candid in their deep understanding of the illicit drug problem in this country and offered the following comments:
It only takes 91 days to become addicted to opiate drugs (hydrocodone, oxycodone, OxyContin)
Legally prescribed opiates can lead to illegal drug use
Opiates can be ordered through the mail from other countries
Be wary of individuals receiving packages from overseas
80% of all crimes are drug related
Synthetic fentanyl is added to heroin which makes the heroin 20-40% more powerful than opiates
48% of all murders are drug related
Legalized pot has increased crimes and accidents
Every 19 minutes a person will die of an overdose
Drug addiction does not discriminate by age, size or any social class
Heroin is not produced in the US
Majority of heroin is coming in from Afghanistan
Mexicans get the heroin and send it to the US to be sold
The Mexican cartels have a strong presence in the US and especially the Northeast.
These statistics are startling and concerning and, unless tangible and sustaining results in stemming this crisis are realized, do not bode well for our youth or for society in general.
In my opinion, the greatest “terrorism” facing this country is this drug crisis as it is tearing families apart, will likely have lasting generational effects and places a significant burden on public safety – police, fire and EMS – as well as hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation organizations. All of us must be vigilant in observing for signs of drug abuse in all segments of society.