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Boston is the capital of Massachusetts. This state joined the union on February 6, 1788. Massachusetts was the sixth state to join the union and become what is now known as the United States of America. The state motto is Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem (By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty). The mayflower is the state flower of Massachusetts and the American elm is the state tree. As of 2010 the population of Massachusetts was 6,547,629 residents. Of this population 3,166,628 (48.2%) were Male; Female: 3,381,001 (51.8%). White: 5,265,236 (75.6%); Black: 434,398 (6.6%); American Indian: 18,850 (0.2%); Asian: 349,768 (5.3%); Other race: 305,151 (4.3%); Two or more races: 172,003 (2.6%); Hispanic/Latino: 627,654 (9.6%). 2010 population 18 and over: 5,128,706; 65 and over: 902,724; median age: 39.

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This week's topic is:

Massachusetts Drug Use Trends

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is located in the New England region of the U.S. It is the 3rd most densely populated state in the nation, and it has two metro area including Greater Boston and Springfield. The Atlantic Ocean is accessible in the Greater Boston region, while Western Massachusetts is home to a mixture of college towns and rural areas. Harvard University in the state was founded in 1636 and is the oldest institution of higher learning in the nation. Substance abuse is a challenge that many residents in the state face, particularly among residents between the ages of 12 and 25. And unfortunately, Massachusetts hasn't been spared from the opioid addiction epidemic that has swept the nation over the past decade or so.

Drug Abuse in Massachusetts

Between 2000 and 2012 the number of unintentional and deadly opioid overdoses in Massachusetts increased by 90 percent. In 2012 alone, nearly 670 Massachusetts residents died from unintentional opioid overdoses, a 10 percent increase over 2011. The Massachusetts State Police report that at least 140 people died of suspected heroin overdoses between November 2013 and March 2014 in jurisdictions in the state where they responded to a homicide and many communities in the report significant increases in both fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses in recent months. Treatment data from 2013 indicate that nearly half of state residents receiving treatment in the publicly funded treatment facilities reported opioids as their primary or secondary drug of choice, with approximately 40% of these people being between the ages of 13 and 29.

The state of Massachusetts is also among the states with lowest perception of risk associated with smoking marijuana, past year cocaine use among residents ages 12 and older and residents aged 18-25 and 26+, and among the states with the highest rates of past month alcohol use among residents 26 and older.

Treatment solutions

With the particular challenges that Massachusetts residents face in regards to substance abuse, many will not be able to kick their habit on their own and will need treatment. For opioid addiction in particular, many residents are inclined to reach for seemingly easy solutions which just become another habit in themselves, such as opiate maintenance therapy. Methadone, suboxone, buprenorphine, etc. are not treatment for opiate addiction, but only a means to prevent cravings and withdrawal and are drugs the individual will very likely have to be on for the rest of their lives unless they receive actual treatment to be able to confidently remain off of drugs for good.

This is achievable, and many drug rehab programs in Massachusetts have accomplished this, but it isn't a fast process and it too comes with challenges. Overcoming these challenges however is made possible in quality drug rehab programs where professional treatment counselors are prepared to help treatment clients do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal. This very often entails behavioral modification, life skills training, and making important lifestyle changes that will encourage a completely drug free and healthy lifestyle when the individual leaves drug rehab in Massachusetts. The intensity which is given to this extremely challenging but doable task is commensurate with what one will get from it in terms of results and successes in treatment. Long-term inpatient and residential drug rehab programs are in the majority of cases the appropriate treatment environment and intensity and length of treatment most suitable for individuals who are highly dependent to any drug, and should be the first choice when accessible for all Massachusetts residents.

Population in Massachusetts:6,398,743
State Prison Population in Massachusetts:10,144
Probation Population in Massachusetts:163,471
Violent Crime Rate in Massachusetts:
National Ranking:18
2007 Federal Drug Seizures in Massachusetts:
Cocaine seizures in Massachusetts:118.8 kgs.
Heroin seizures in Massachusetts:7.1 kgs.
Methamphetamine seizures in Massachusetts:5.2 kgs./301 du
Marijuana seizures in Massachusetts:279.2 kgs.
Hashish seizures in Massachusetts:0.0 kgs.
MDMA seizures in Massachusetts:0.0 kgs./48,340 du
Meth Lab Incidents in Massachusetts:0
(DEA, Massachusetts, and local city Law Enforcement)
Drug Situation in Massachusetts:
  • Cocaine and heroin are the primary drugs of abuse in the state of Massachusetts as Colombian and Dominican traffickers dominate the distribution throughout the state.
  • OxyContin remains extremely available and in use and has been seen as a "gateway drug" to heroin use in Massachusetts.

  • Cocaine is easily available from gram to kilogram quantities throughout Massachusetts.
  • New York had been the primary source area for cocaine in Massachusetts.
  • Investigative efforts show an increased transportation of cocaine to Massachusetts, directly from the Mexican-United States border, as well as Florida and Georgia.
  • Cocaine is transported to Massachusetts in multi-kilogram quantities via commercial transit, tractor trailers, and vehicles equipped with hidden compartments.
  • Cocaine also imported into Massachusetts via mail services, commercial transit and livery services.
  • Importers of cocaine into Massachusetts are of Colombian and Dominican origin, along with the emergence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations importing cocaine into the region.
  • Cocaine's retail distribution continues among all ethnic groups in Massachusetts.
  • Cocaine prices and purity levels remain stable in Massachusetts.
  • Crack cocaine is converted locally in Massachusetts and/or transported from New York, Florida and Puerto Rico.
  • African -American violators and street gang members in Massachusetts continue to dominate cocaine distribution in the state.
  • Cocaine remains a widespread problem in Massachusetts and crack continues to be reported as the drug of choice within Boston city limits.

  • Heroin is easily available from gram to kilogram quantities throughout Massachusetts.
  • Traditionally, New York had been the primary source area for heroin in Massachusetts, with the drug entering by interstate highway via publicly and privately operated vehicles equipped with hidden compartments. However, there continues to be increased transport of the drug into Massachusetts directly from source countries and/or the southwestern United States.
  • The primary suppliers of heroin in Massachusetts are of Colombian and Dominican origin, with retail distribution among all ethnic groups.
  • Heroin distribution and use continues throughout Massachusetts.
  • While prices have remained low at both the wholesale and retail level, heroin purity levels have started to fluctuate with both extremely high and low purity levels encountered at the street level in Massachusetts.

  • Methamphetamine is available in small quantities in Massachusetts and is transported via express mail packages from California and the southwestern United States.
  • Recent seizures reflect the availability of crystal methamphetamine in Massachusetts .
  • Methamphetamine is rarely abused throughout Massachusetts, but a problem among young adults between the ages of 18 to 25, members of the homosexual community and occasionally abused by individuals in their late 30s to early 40s.
  • There were 0 meth lab incidents in Massachusetts in 2007.

  • In the state of Massachusetts, MDMA is widely available and in large quantities.
  • MDMA is found at rave parties, nightclubs, on college campuses across Massachusetts as well as among members of the homosexual community.
  • MDMA is primarily transported into New England via the New York-Vermont border with increased involvement by Asian drug trafficking organizations.
  • There is a small amount of abuse of club drugs such as Ketamine and GHB in Massachusetts.

  • Marijuana remains easily available in all areas of Massachusetts.
  • The majority of commercial-grade marijuana coming into Massachusetts originates in Mexico or the Southwest region of the United States.
  • Marijuana of both Colombian and Jamaican origin has been encountered in Massachusetts.
  • Hydroponic marijuana, which is mainly cultivated in Canada, also continues to be available in Massachusetts.
  • Personal use amounts of hashish continue to arrive in Boston,Massachusetts on flights from the Netherlands and other source countries.
  • The majority of the marijuana brought into Massachusetts comes from the southwest border via aircraft, land vehicles, and delivery services.
  • Oxycodone products continue to be diverted in Massachusetts.
  • Percocet, Roxicet and OxyContin are easily available in Massachusetts.
  • OxyContin is the preferred pharmaceutical drug of abuse and is widely available in Massachusetts.
  • OcyContin in Massachusetts has been obtained from such areas as Arizona, Florida and Nevada for distribution in the state.
  • Traffickers dealing in Massachusetts continue to divert OxyContin via express mail shipments into the greater Boston area.
  • Well organized doctor shopping rings, forged and/or altered prescriptions and diversion from individuals' prescriptions are the most commonly found diversion methods in Massachusetts.
  • Current reports suggest that diversion of oxycodone products such as OxyContin continues to be a problem in Massachusetts.
  • Primary methods of diversion of oxycodone products in Massachusetts are illegal sale and distribution by health care professionals and workers, "doctor shopping", forged prescriptions, employee theft, pharmacy theft, and the Internet.
  • Methadone and Vicodin were identified as being among the most commonly abused and diverted pharmaceuticals in Massachusetts.

    • In 1995 a program was created known as the DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams, or "MET". This was in response to the overwhelming problem of drugs and drug-related crimes across the nation. There have been MET deployments in the State of Massachusetts since the inception of the program: Lynn, Revere, Webster, Springfield, Lawrence, Everett, Fitchburg (2), Southbridge, Greenfield, Holyoke, Framingham, Worcester (2), Boston (2), Provincetown, and Gloucester.
    • Based on information from the 2000 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, there are 356 substance abuse treatment centers in Massachusetts.
    • There are twenty drug courts across the state of Massachusetts.
    • There were 5drug violation arrests in Massachusetts in 2007.

    State Policy Offices : Massachusetts

    • Governor's Office Executive Office
      State House, Room 360
      Boston, MA 02133
      (617) 727-3600
    • State Drug Program Coordinator Governor's Alliance Against Drugs
      John W. McCormack State Office Building
      One Ashburton Place, Room 2131
      Boston, MA 02108
      (617) 727-0786

    State Criminal Justice Offices : Massachusetts

    • Attorney General's Office Department of the Attorney General
      John W. McCormack State Office Building
      One Ashburton Place, Room 2010
      Boston, MA 02108
      (617) 727-2200
    • Law Enforcement Planning Massachusetts Committee on Criminal Justice
      Leverett Saltonstall State Office Building
      100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100
      Boston, MA 02202
      (617) 727-6300
    • Crime Prevention Office Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council
      Massachusetts Crime Watch
      1155 Central Avenue
      Needham, MA 02192
      (617) 727-1907
    • Statistical Analysis Center Massachusetts Committee on Criminal Justice
      100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100
      Boston, MA 02202
      (617) 727-0237
    • Uniform Crime Reports Contact Massachusetts State Police
      Criminal Information Section
      Crime Reporting Unit
      1010 Commonwealth Avenue
      Boston, MA 02215
      (617) 566-4500
    • BJA Strategy Preparation Agency Massachusetts Committee on Criminal Justice
      100 Cambridge Street, Room 2100
      Boston, MA 02202
      (617) 727-6300
    • Judicial Agency Supreme Judicial Court
      Courthouse, Room 1300
      Boston, MA 02108
      (617) 725-8083
    • Corrections Agency Department of Corrections
      Leverett Saltonstall State Office Building
      100 Cambridge Street
      Boston, MA 02202
      (617) 727-3301

    State Health Offices : Massachusetts

    • RADAR Network Agency Massachusetts Prevention Center
      488 Essex Street
      Lawrence, MA 01840
      (508) 688-2323
    • HIV-Prevention Program AIDS Bureau
      Massachusetts Department of Public Health
      150 Tremont Street
      Boston, MA 02111
      (617) 727-0368
    • Drug and Alcohol Agency Bureau of Substance Abuse Services
      Department of Public Health
      150 Tremont Street, Sixth Floor
      Boston, MA 02111
      (617) 727-1960

    State Education Office : Massachusetts

    • State Coordinator for Drug-Free Schools Governor's Alliance Against Drugs
      John W. McCormack State Office Building
      One Ashburton Place, Room 611
      Boston, MA 02108
      (617) 727-0786

    Massachusetts: Substance Abuse Trends & Statistics

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    Behavioral Health Barometer:

    Massachusetts: Substance Abuse Resources

    Drug Rehab Massachusetts Massachusetts Health and Human Services

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