Long Waits for Federally Funded Treatment


All across the country people are abusing heroin at an unprecedented rate, and many people who seek help for their addiction may find that they have to wait in line – a line which continues to get longer. The majority of people who seek substance abuse turn to state and federally funded rehabilitation services. In the past, an addict may expect to wait a few days to get a bed at a recovery center; today, addicts who seek help are finding long waiting periods which can result in something tragic happening, like an overdose in the interim.

The exponential growth in prescription opioid abuse, and the heroin scourge which has followed in its wake, has bogged down federally funded state and local treatment centers, NBC News reports. Addicts in Massachusetts wait several weeks for a spot in a treatment center; the wait in Florida is a month. In Maine the wait is much longer; addicts can find themselves waiting 18 months.

The long waits are often too much to bear, and over the course of the wait addicts change their mind. The result is continued use, potential for landing in jail, or worse – an overdose.

“The jails here are basically detox facilities,” Portland, Maine resident Shawn Cross, who spent four months in order to get clean from opioids, told the Portland Press Herald

It is scary when addicts are asking to be put in jail for a chance at getting sober. In Ohio, Kayla Dempsey asked a judge to send her to jail so she could get clean, according to the article.

“There’s no help out there anymore,” Kayla Dempsey told NBC affiliate WFMJ. “There’s a three-month waiting list for any rehab around here because of the heroin epidemic.”

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