Across the country, deaths from drug overdoses have gone up significantly over the last few years. From 2017 to 2019, deaths per 100,000 people from drug overdoses have increased  by over 4, from 15.0 to 19.2. Louisiana certainly hasn’t been immune to the upswing, as deaths in Louisiana related to drug use have reached 21.3 people per 100,000 as of 2019.

Since before the opioid crisis hit full swing with the advent of fentanyl Louisiana has been suffering from drug addiction and substance abuse at a higher rate than most of the rest of the country, as evinced by the continually high rate of drug-related deaths. If the problem is going to be addressed, then drug addiction needs to be taken head-on. One way to start the process on an individual level is to seek out counseling or therapy. J.D. Murphy is available in Pineville to help those dealing with addictions to drugs or alcohol. If you or a loved one is suffering, the first step is acknowledgment, and then the healing process can begin. 

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5 Current Realities of Drug, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse In Louisiana

Men Are at High Risk — In regards to drugs, men are typically more likely to use, and when they do use, they’re more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. While the incidents of drug deaths have been increasing for both men and women, men experience drug-related deaths at almost twice the rate of women. There are plenty of reasons that someone may engage in substance use to the point that it ends their life.

Generally, stressors could be pointed to as a factor, and men have some major stressors that they feel expected to work through alone. Worries about providing for their families, worries about their masculinity, and the idea that addressing them openly is a sign of weakness are all points of stress that can drive men to substance abuse and addiction. If you or a man in your life has drug abuse or addiction problems, it’s important that you encourage them to seek help and to keep in mind the strength it takes to deal with a problem that many never overcome.

Middle Age Can Be Volatile — As much as we tend to worry about the state of our youth when it comes to drug addiction and abuse, the numbers show that middle-aged people in Louisiana are at much greater risk of going over the edge with drug addiction than their children. This can most likely be attributed to similar concerns that drive men to alcohol and drugs. Economic and social pressures show us a picture of what life should be and as people, if we can’t meet those expectations, we often go into a downward spiral. The pressures of parenting and adulthood can be extreme. Acknowledging you need help is key. Oftentimes, it is in the effort to meet these responsibilities that working adults get caught up in the cycle of drug addiction. One reason that could be pointed to for the high rate of drug-related deaths in the middle-age people of Louisiana is the prevalence of opioid use in the working-class community. Work-related injuries make the blue-collar people of Louisiana more likely to receive prescription pain medicine, which can be helpful, but whose use often spirals into dependence.

Opioids Are a Huge Contributor — Prescribed pain medicine in Louisiana is at a shockingly high level compared to the rest of the country. In 2017, 89.5 pain medicine prescriptions were written per 100 people in Louisiana. These prescriptions soared over the national average of 58.7. In fact, Louisiana has far exceeded the national average of prescriptions for the better part of the last 15 years. For 12 out of the last 13 years, Louisiana has been over the national average in drug deaths — often significantly so. If drug-related deaths are to be avoided, then the extreme use of prescription pain medication and other opioids has to be considered. 

Also contributing to the opioid category is fentanyl. As a powerful and addictive drug, fentanyl is slowly making its way through the country and Louisiana has been no exception. Perhaps piggy-backing off the needs of those addicted to pain medicine, this synthetic opioid is 80-100 times more powerful than morphine, and, in a bind, an addict may see it as a welcome alternative to the pain of withdrawals. Unfortunately, Louisiana ranks 18th in fentanyl-related deaths, continuing to avoid the opioid crisis will only make it worse. If you or a loved one is in the early stages of addiction, don’t be afraid to seek help. A licensed counselor or therapist can help you decide whether or not rehab will be necessary and the steps you should take after that.

It Puts The Next Generation at Risk — Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) is a problem that’s growing with the drug crisis. Over the last five years or so, incidences of NOWS has nearly doubled in parts of Louisiana. Like other drugs, the effects of addiction to opioids on a child can have life-long ramifications. A baby that has to be weaned off of drugs often experiences a real threat to their life, their brain function, and their mobility.

A Lack of Community Could Contribute to Drug Addiction Rates — As we’ve stressed earlier in this passage, knowing that you have people in your corner is one of the keys to overcoming drug addiction. A lack of community can translate to isolation, isolation can lead to improper and unhealthy coping, and unhealthy coping can lead to drug and substance abuse. In a ranking of the country’s quality of state communities, a ranking that represents a community’s impact on its residents’ health and ability to make healthy decisions, Louisiana ranked last. This is because of a number of factors out of any one individual’s control, but much of it can be attributed to a lack of resources and opportunity. Changing the culture of your area is hard to do, but one part of the solution to Louisiana’s drug and substance abuse issues is improving our communities and being there for one another. 

Step Towards Mental Health With J.D. Murphy

Contact J.D. Murphy Today For Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling

One part of the community that can help Louisiana overcome drug addiction is your local drug therapist or counselor. In Pineville, J.D. Murphy is always aiming to help the community improve and move past their struggles, whether they be in marriage, addiction, or mental health. With a vast educational background rooted in psychology, J.D. combines proven methods with an unshakable faith to set his clients back on the right path. If you’re in or around Pineville and seeking help for substance or drug abuse, then contact J.D. Murphy Christian Counseling and we’ll help you get started on the road to recovery!