SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA
St. Paul, Minnesota, has been highly proactive in its efforts to curb its drug issues. Studies are undertaken on a consistent basis, and results are frequently compiled from the various sources to illustrate an accurate portrayal of the city’s primary substance abuse-related issues.
The largest current apprehension is that the abuse of heroin and prescription opiates will continue to evolve. The latter is a trend throughout neighboring areas of the country. In the city of St. Paul, the fear relates to opiates’ growing availability through the state’s DTOs, the strength of the city’s economy, and the state in general, and a perception of increased affordability.
Though St.Paul maintains one Minnesota’s largest drug problems, in part due to its proximity to a large metropolis, the city and surrounding region also maintain one of the largest ongoing efforts to curb abuse. Its HIDTA status is taken seriously. Abuse of prescription stimulants – a direct causality of an effort to curb certain young adult mental health issues, such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) – appears primed to upswing in 2018. Ritalin, as with most of the rest of the country, has lessened in use, while Adderall has become not only increasingly abused, but also sold or shared by other sufferers. The number may not be large, especially in reference to other statistics from harder drugs but the signs are nonetheless discouraging.
That said, the incontrovertible truth of the addict is such that most any drug can be had for a price. Whatever one needs, or craves … or wants, an addict will find. The widespread use of mass transit in the St. Paul and Twin Cities’ areas enable an ease of access to purchase and use without the need for driving. As such, driving under the influence when it regards most other substances aside from alcohol is relatively rare, while the number of local liquor stores have created a wave of admissions related to alcohol abuse. Fatal car crashes in the city are approximately 51% alcohol-related.
The situation may seem dire, but, as mentioned earlier, help is a phone call or treatment center visit away. Always do your own research to find what is best for you, and use the above resource listings as a base. Many of the centers previously mentioned will accept Medicaid and Medicare, or cash. Many will also work with you in terms of financial assistance. Do your diligence first, and then pick up the phone.
As ever, true recovery begins with the acknowledgment that you have an issue, and then seeking help for that issue.
Drug Trends in St. Paul and Minnesota
The state of Minnesota has been listed by the U.S. Department of Justice as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), and Minneapolis/Saint Paul as a particularly problematic city as it regards issues related to trafficking. Interestingly, St. Paul’s tagline for potential residents, and curious tourists, is The Most Livable City in America.
Such ease of access to the Twin City’s metropolis, however, as with most metropolitan areas of similar access, has been tied to increasing Drug Trafficking Organization activity in the region.
In the 2015 study, authored by Carol Falkowski, “heroin and other opiates” were said to have “continued their stronghold in the Twin Cities.” The implication is all-too-clear, which is verified by a further read of the study. The usage and abuse of the aforementioned drugs have increased year-to-year, in this case since 2012.
In 2014, 14.6% of admissions to treatment centers, well above the then-national average, were due to heroin (3208 admissions). The statistic is particularly striking when compared to that of addiction admissions due to marijuana at the time (3,246). Opiate-related deaths fell slightly, while methamphetamine-related admissions rose yearly to a high of 11.8% by the end of the year. Cocaine-related admissions, and deaths, fell year-to-year, and continue to do so today. The study went on to say that synthetic marijuana (not pot, but a harder mind-altering substance) also fell to relatively insubstantial levels. Do not misread the statement, as kush remains an issue. However, in comparison to other harder drugs, the decline has been notable, and consistent. Such a trend has continued though the end of 2017, and will likely do the same for 2018.
The 2014 study, it should be noted, was compiled based on five data sources: Mortality, Addiction Treatment, Drug Seizure, Poison Center, and Prescription Drug. Mortality data was courtesy of the Ramsey County and the Hennepin County Medical Examiners. Addiction Treatment data was shared by the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Normative Evaluation System, Minnesota Department of Human Services. Drug Seizure data was compiled from statistics from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and various drug and violent crime state-wide task forces. The Minnesota Poison Control System was responsible for the Poison Center data, and the Minnesota Prescription Monitoring Program from the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy shared its Prescription Drug data.
In 2017, the increasing numbers of opiate-related deaths slowed in neighboring Hennepin, but Ramsey County’s numbers moderately increased. Prescription opioids have remained consistent since 2014 levels, with an even breakdown of men and women, primarily Caucasian. Opium smoking is currently increasing. Cocaine use continues to decrease, per various measures, although treatment admissions have not decreased in conjunction with the usage. Criminal gangs remains involved in the trafficking of cocaine, but have been turning to heroin on a frequent basis.
Similar to the 2017 cocaine statistic, while meth deaths continue to fall, Twin Cities’ treatment center admissions have climbed. MDMA (ecstasy) is still highly popular in nightclubs, as is molly.
Admissions for pot continue to exceed the national average, in 2017 exceeding 15% of all substance abuse-related admissions. As ever, the medical marijuana system has proven fairly simple to game, and prescriptions appear to be granted under questionable circumstances.
Hallucinogens such as LSD, known as blotter acids, are sold simply as saturated, small pieces of paper. Its perceived simplicity translates into an ongoing issue, though not nearly as severe as heroin, prescription opiates or meth.
An intriguing statistic is nearly 45% of all admissions are due to alcohol addiction. St. Paul maintains a large number of liquor stores. Nearly 65% of all of those admitted to treatment centers for alcohol-related purposes are age 35 or older.
St. Paul, Minnesota is a beautiful area that attracts criminal elements from around the country. The various statistics as it regards drug usage attracts DTOs from around the country, and frequently from Mexico. Drug lab raids occur with an alarming regularity. As the economy continues to improve, as with national trends, the drug issue becomes more difficult to manage based on factors related to affordability.
Help is out there. The following sections will identify some prime resources for substance abuse treatment.
Lafayette, Louisiana and Marijuana Abuse
While marijuana is not considered a dangerous drug and many states are considering its legalization for recreational purposes, marijuana is nonetheless a drug. It has a major psychoactive impact and seriously skews an individual’s cognition. If it didn’t, then no one would bother using it.
Alongside alcohol, it likewise represents most individual’s entry point into drug abuse. While many enjoy both without consequence, marijuana can have a number of serious consequences for those who abuse the drug while their brains are still developing. In addition, those that have pre-existing psychiatric disorders like bipolar, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective, will find that marijuana worsens their symptoms.
Throughout Louisiana, marijuana remains the most abused drug and the number one reason individuals find themselves in rehab.
While the drug is not considered physically addictive, neither is crack or methamphetamine. These drugs all have some impact on the neurotransmitter dopamine. When an individual stops smoking marijuana, they may find that they experience depression, agitation, and have difficulty falling asleep. While the effects will not be near to what they are for crack or meth users, they nonetheless exist.
TREATMENT PRE-INTAKE RESOURCES
To determine the extent and nature of one’s addiction, pre-intake questions may include the following: “How long have you been using?” “Do you believe you have a problem?” “Do you think others who know you believe you have a substance-related problem?” “Have others confronted you with questions related to substance abuse?” “Do you ever use alone?” “Have you ever substituted one drug for another, thinking one particular drug was the problem?” “Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?” “Have you ever been in a jail, a hospital, or a drug rehabilitation center because of your using?”
You can find pre-intake sample applications online. In this case, as with any other self-diagnostic tool, the questions as asked are exploratory only. You must speak to a trained and licensed professional for any true diagnosis. Still, such online tools such as a pre-intake questionnaire can be extremely useful. If you can honestly answer those questions, you may be validated, or you may dislike your responses. If you were drawn to the tool, likely both will apply. Regardless, consider your results, and then take necessary action.
There are pros and cons with online resources such as these, particularly when it comes to completely basing your treatment decisions on your own responses. That would be a negative, as remember, such questions are guidelines only without a trained professional to analyze your answers. Regardless of whether such questions are based on true-life examples of treatment center queries (they usually are), you may not be the best arbiter of your responses. Most especially if you are under the influence of any drug, or alcoholic drink. On the positive side, if you can be truthful with your answers, such online questions will certainly provide a glimpse into your condition, and the need for help.
Kudos to you for checking such online resources to begin with. That’s certainly a proactive start. A quick note: Even if you don’t believe you are addicted, but are concerned that your usage is growing, help is out there. You do not have to be on the far side of addiction to reach out to various resources on The Recover. In the same spirit, if you are drawn to use, but have not yet, The Recover provides resources available to you as well. It is never too early, nor is it ever too late. These are tools that have been formed for reason, and they are there for you.
TREATMENT INTAKE SERVICES
Many addicts, or users with a problem whose usage is not yet defined as an addiction, make the mistake of not taking the first step towards sobriety as it regards intake. If you need help in making an informed decision as to what treatment method is right for you, we cannot encourage you strongly enough to, again, speak to family and/or friends who have been there before. Sometimes, a user has a difficult time making such decisions with a clear head.
And once more, if you know of no one who has been through these issues before, please contact one of the centers as listed on this page.
Also, we encourage you to ask yourself a few questions: 1) What is holding you back from getting help? 2) Do you believe you have a support system? If so, do you feel comfortable contacting them and speaking about your problem? If not, would you feel more comfortable contacting a professional? And 4) Do you believe you are capable of making an informed decision as to your treatment? If yes, you are well-advised to take advantage of one or more of the resources here. If no, you are strongly advised to contact one of the phone numbers listed here, and discuss your reservations.
During the intake application process, you will be required to list your prescription medications and days and times taken (if “none,” you check “none”), an authorization of medical care, a list of allergies or other medical issues, and a waiver of responsibility. Some applications ask more. A physician or treatment center representative will then review your application for the proper steps, and treatment.
If you have come this far, kudos to you. You have taken a major step towards reclaiming your life, and your potential.
The concept and practice of detox is typically broken down into three distinct phases: Evaluation, Stabilization, and Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehab.
Evaluation: As overseen by a doctor, who will determine what drugs are presently being used, how long has the patient been using, and how much and how frequently the patient uses.
Stabilization: Stabilization differs patient to patient, based on specific substance being abused. This is the end result of the withdrawal phase.
Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehab: Many addicts believe that once they complete withdrawal, they are finished with their treatment. That is a dangerous belief, as withdrawal only releases the immediate physical hold of the substance.
Communication is key. Some users are resistant to treatment, most especially when in a treatment center against their will. In this instance, your communication with your specialists will be at risk. Remember, they are there to help you. You have the freedom to ask questions, and the right to receive answers.
That is one of the benefits of treatment, a better understanding of your illness.
INPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES
Inpatient treatment is frequently misunderstood, as there are several options available to the user under that umbrella title. Many people believe the term to refer to only hospital treatment. Or, only highly-restrictive treatment. In reality, it is neither.
Inpatient treatment can either be PHP (a partial hospitalization providing a highly-structured environment, with typically active treatment of 30 hours per week), the less-intensive IOP (intensive outpatient treatment plan, which requires up to three hours daily over 3-5 days, for a total of nine hours weekly; therapy is usually included, but the patient can live either at their own home or a halfway house during the process), and an RTC (residential).
Though you may be the best determinant of the degree of inpatient recovery resources best suited to your needs, frequently one may need the help of family or friends to help you more clearly identify the treatment options that are most prudent for your needs. From there, only your personal commitment will determine your success.
PHPs and RTCs are amazing resources for those with more severe or difficult abuse issues. Both options are highly-structured, especially the former. The importance of structure cannot be understated. You will have a time for medicinal treatment, a time for personal or group therapy, a time to rest, a time for activities …
Frequently, a user has little structure outside of the treatment center. The user is more interested in the high than by scheduling their day via their clock. The structure of PHP treatment, particularly, may be a challenge for some. But, if you allow the treatment to take its course, the end-result can exceed your most optimistic hopes.
So ask yourself: “Do I do well in a structured environment?” “Am I functional in a structured environment, or will I have a better chance to succeed with something less restrictive? As ever, a user if not always the best determinant as to treatment. If a user is high while making the decision, that will be in no one’s best interests. It’s time to commit, with as free a sense of mind as possible.
We will talk more about the level of commitment in a moment.
OUTPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES
Outpatient treatment is a comprehensive approach to wellness, and no less impactful than inpatient services. Please research the importance of outpatient treatment resources on The Recover, or speak to loved ones who have been through the process. Recovery is an ongoing process, which requires a substantive lifestyle change to avoid the ever-present threat of a relapse.
Let’s discuss a bit further. Outpatient treatment allows the patient a certain level of responsibility to remain clean while outside of the treatment center. You will face temptations but will have also learned specific strategies as to how to deal with them. It is up to you to take advantage of those lessons. There is a certain degree of trust on the part of the outpatient treatment administrators that the user will remain clean, and at the same time outpatient treatment allows for the user to remain productive on the outside while still receiving help. If you work, you can schedule your outpatient appointments or check-ins after hours.
One very important point, though, under this or any treatment circumstance: The entirely of your treatment is a commitment. Outpatient or not, if you miss one appointment you will likely miss another. That is a recipe for failure. What you allow, you encourage.
Never allow an excuse to fail. More precisely, let’s say it as it is: There are countless reasons why one would fail, in this or any other environment. Laziness, rigidity, intimidation …
There are fewer reasons to succeed: Yourself, first of all, then your loved ones (your collective of family and friends). Which means more to you? The pain of the commitment to get well, or the pleasure of using? If you answer the latter question as your affirmative, consider those loved ones who care about you, and worry about you.
On that note, let us elaborate upon the concept of commitment for a moment. Some users resent the term, thinking many of those who do not use, or who are not otherwise plagued by addiction, tend to believe commitment is that much easier than it truly is. How can a user commit to anything at all, one may ask, much less treatment if said user is overwhelmed by their addiction?
It is very difficult. Really, it is. But you can do this. You can reclaim your life, as none of us are defined by our addictions.
AFTERCARE AND SOBER LIVING RESOURCES
Not all sober houses or aftercare facilities are created equal. However, you will frequently be surrounded by others in a supportive and understanding environment, others who have undergone similar difficulties. Sober houses most frequently prove to the addict – which as you see here is a message on repeat – that you are not alone.
There have been several popular television shows on various networks over the last decade that have dramatized the sober living experience. We suggest that you watch with caution, as several of these shows contain scripted elements that do not necessarily give a positive view of what could be a positive experience.
We’ve seen users looking forward to attending sober houses for all the wrong reasons. The sober house experience is an often integral part of your overall treatment. But, it can be as abused as the substances for which you have been admitted.
You will live among others in a place away from your home. A sober care facility will actually be your new home until you leave. Others can influence you, so be careful. Sober living can be a hugely beneficial and beautiful experience, but you must remember, you are still in treatment.