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Drug Addiction in Pima County - by Joselina Islas

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    • Joselina Islas at Pima Community College

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    There is no denying that there is a drug epidemic in America. Here in Pima County, most of us know someone who is currently using and may even have experienced losing a loved one to an overdose. It hurts to know that someone’s life was unnecessarily cut short to drugs. Knowing that they will never live the full life that you thought they would. Knowing that they were struggling with addiction. Knowing that you couldn’t help them.

    In 2016 there were only 16 Fentanyl deaths in Pima County, by 2020 that number jumped to 207 (PCHD Surveillance Report). Since the Pandemic started in March 2020, there has been an increase in drug overdose across the country. There is not enough data to pinpoint exactly what the cause to that increase is because of many variables, but one correlation is that Local Health Departments had to reallocate resources towards the pandemic. CDC restrictions for Covid-19 also may have played a part by reducing the amount of clients allowed into a treatment or resource center. “Evidenced-based prevention and treatment services are known to improve outcomes for people with substance use disorder, so any changes to their provision could contribute to the worsening outcomes reported since the onset of COVID-19" (Hall).

    “Once you feel that rush and high from drugs, all you want to do is get it back. From then on you are just chasing that first high” (Anonymous). Most users will tell you something similar to this. They are “chasing the high”. On the journey to chasing that high, real life begins to crumble. Friends and family may even be affected.

    I work at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office and I have heard friends and families of defendants say how much drugs has changed their loved ones. I have also seen a lot of cases where drugs had influenced other bad behaviors such as burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, and child endangerment and/or abuse. Cases where small children/babies have almost died because they accidently ingested fentanyl.

    The impact of drug addiction is detrimental to our society. We should all be fighting to save our loved ones who are struggling with addiction.

    According to a news article, Pima County has been awarded $48.5 million in settlement from pharmaceutical companies. The money will be paid out over the next 18 years (Potter). Hopefully, this money will help combat the drug epidemic that we are plagued with today.

    I would like to see that money go to preventive measures such as youth outreach services and family counseling. According to Howard Samuels, PSY. D., founder of The Hills Treatment Center, treatment should be for the family of an addict not just the addict. Treating someone with a substance abuse problem and then sending them back to the same dysfunctional family that may have enabled or provoked the situation to begin with would most likely set them up for failure. Treating the family as a whole would be ideal for success (Marano).

    Rehabs and Treatment Centers

    CODAC Health, Recovery and Wellness
    380 E. Ft. Lowell Road, Tucson, AZ 85705 | Phone: (520) 202-1786

    Buena Vista Drug & Alcohol Recovery Center of Tucson
    5151 E Pima St, Tucson, AZ 85712 | Phone: (520) 436-7860

    The Haven
    107 E Adelaide Dr, Tucson, AZ 85719 | Phone: (520) 623-4590

    America's Rehab Campuses Tucson
    6944 E Tanque Verde Rd | Phone: (833) 272-7342

    Works Cited

    Marano, Hara Estroff. "Family: the first step: addiction is a family disease; it requires a family solution." Psychology Today, vol. 45, no. 2, Mar.-Apr. 2012, pp. 26+. Gale OneFile: Psychology, Accessed 22 Nov. 2022.

    Hall, Kellie, et al. "Disruptions to U.S. local public health's role in population-based substance use prevention and response during COVID-19." Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, vol. 17, no. 1, 7 Nov. 2022, p. NA. Gale OneFile: Psychology, Accessed 22 Nov. 2022.

    Person, Mark. "Pima County Monthly Surveillance Report: 2021 Fatal Overdoses." Pima County Health Department. 16 Jul. 2021.

    Potter, Allie. "Efforts Underway to End Opiod Death Crisis in Pima County." KOLD. 28 Sep. 2022

    Anonymous. Personal Communication. 16 Dec. 2022.

    This page titled Drug Addiction in Pima County - by Joselina Islas is shared under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Joselina Islas at Pima Community College.