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Due to its accessibility to many regional drug hubs such as NYC and D.C. for example, Delaware residents have easy access to all illicit drugs and the state has experienced a marked increase in the prevalence of substance abuse in recent years. This problem affects both adults and youth in the state, and it is estimated that around 12% of Delaware residents aged 12 and older have used an illicit drug or a prescription drug non-medically within the past month. This affects the 18-25 portion of the population of the state most significantly, with over 23% of young adults in this age group reporting past month use of an illicit drug or non-medical use of a prescription drug.
One of the most significant problems that have recently come to light in Delaware is non-medical use of prescription drugs. This could be a prescription pain killer that has many of the same qualities and hence similar effects as an illicit opiate such as heroin, such as OxyContin or Percocet, or perhaps a prescription anti-anxiety medication such a Valium or Xanax which act as a depressant and are abused at very high rates in the state and nationally in other ways than would be prescribed or perhaps at higher doses more often. Prescription stimulants are also abused in much the same way as any other stimulant would be abused in the state, and many residents including youth abuse Ritalin, Concerta and the like to experience similar effects that one would experience taking an illicit stimulant such as cocaine. Prescription drug abuse is a national epidemic and isn't only a problem in Delaware, but it is one which is having devastating consequences in the state and must be addressed with the utmost urgency. The rates of the consequences of non-medical use of prescription drugs highlight the need to act effectively and quickly to resolve the problem. Delaware has among with highest rate of drug overdose deaths involving the non-medical use of prescription drugs, a rate which has doubled over the past decade or so.
Rates of alcohol use and abuse, and likewise the rates of negative consequences as a result of this, are also very high in Delaware. Over 22% of Delaware residents aged 12 and older have engaged in binge drinking within the past month, with the 18-25 age group experiencing the highest rate of this at over 40%. This begins very early for Delaware residents, and by 12th grade over 53% of Delaware youth have consumed alcohol.
Studies indicate that although substance abuse impacts all age groups in Delaware, youth ages 18-25 are impacted the most significantly which highlight the need for early intervention among youth in the state. To further highlight this fact these studies show that while over 6% of Delaware residents aged 25 and older are alcohol or illicit drug dependent or are abusing drugs, over 22% of residents aged 18-25 are in this category. Of these youth, nearly 16% need but are not receiving treatment for this problem which will likely progress and worsen.
On the positive side of things, Delaware residents have access to many drug rehab programs in the state, many of which offer both outpatient and inpatient services. There are many different types of residential programs as well. The structure of the various programs and what each has to offer, including success rates of these programs, should all be taken into consideration when determining which program is most appropriate for the client seeking treatment. For example, just because a program provides services to help a client detox and become abstinent doesn't mean it provides comprehensive services that can help someone remain that way. This is important to consider for a number of reasons, because some drug rehab programs in the state use drugs to treat drug addiction, particularly opiate dependence and addiction, using drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine for example which the individual will be on for the rest of their lives. So if an individual wants to truly be drug free and never have to be dependent to drugs daily any longer, a drug free program is going to make this a much more realistic goal and clients in Delaware do make it through these programs successfully every day. Programs which only work to treat the symptoms of addiction don't have high success rates because the underlying causes once resolved are what lead to breakthroughs for clients who can then confidently live drug free. Therefore, getting through detox and withdrawal should only be the first step on a truly comprehensive drug rehab program the state.