Massachusetts

 While it’s a small state geographically, Massachusetts has had one of the biggest impacts on the founding and development of the United States as a country. Most of the eastern half of the state is taken up by the greater Boston area, and the western portion of the state is filled with some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Harvard. While one of the most densely populated states in the country, Massachusetts is also one of the wealthiest.

Even with this great wealth and high level of education, Massachusetts has a long history of drug addiction. It’s possible that a large part of this stems from the difficulties arising from having one of the biggest cities in the country (and all of its attendant organized crime elements) operating in essentially half the state.

Drug Facts and Statistics Concerning Drug Abuse in Massachusetts

The following statistics show drug abuse rates in the state of Massachusetts:

  • Massachusetts death rates from drug use exceed the national average. In the state, 13.9 people per 100,000 die as a direct cause of drug use. This is compared to the national average of 12.8 people per 100,000 across the rest of the country.
  • 12.12 percent of Massachusetts residents admit to past-month drug use. This far exceeds the national average of 8.82 percent of Americans using drugs across the entire United States. It’s safe to say that Massachusetts is actually one of the drug-use leaders.
  • Like some of its east coast neighbors, heroin is the most commonly used drug in the state when viewed as a percentage of drug rehab treatment admissions.

The Massachusetts Drug Problem

The state of Massachusetts has a series of substance abuse rates that have shown some major changes over the last decade.

  • Heroin has continued to be a very difficult drug for authorities and drug control experts to handle in the state. The use of this drug dwarfs all others. Currently, heroin is responsible as the main drug in 70 percent of all drug treatment admissions in Massachusetts.
  • Cocaine and crack used to match heroin in their admission rates in 1992, when both drugs were responsible for about 45 percent of admissions. In the last twenty years, however, these drugs have plummeted in use and are now only responsible for less than ten percent of all admissions.
  • Stimulants such as meth have extremely low usage rates and admission rates.
  • Marijuana and prescription painkillers are similarly responsible for ten percent or less of all treatment admissions.

Massachusetts Marijuana Advocates Want Legalization in 3 Years

Medicinal marijuana advocates are pushing for voter support to legalize use of the drug within the next three years. Although dispensaries have not gone up, the demand has.  The necessary paperwork was filed by a question committee dedicated to repealing prohibition on marijuana with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance.  With voters becoming more inclined for the abolishment of marijuana prohibition, a planned ascendency is in the works by the “the local veteran advocates for marijuana reform.”  Their mission statement says that they want the “simplest and least restrictive plan for marijuana law reform,” based their unfinished website. Citizen voted for marijuana reform and decriminalization in 2008 and the legalization of medical marijuana was introduced on a ballot question on Election day. With many other states legalization and decriminalizing marijuana, the hope is that eradication of prohibition will not be halted in Massachusetts. The issue of topical reform is prominent amongst voters and the advocates for marijuana reform. Even with the popularity of the drug in recent years and many conducted studies, there is still not enough conclusive study on the drug for the proper implications to be taken of legalization.

Massachusetts Drug Treatment Sources & Resources 

WhiteHouse.gov: Massachusetts Drug Control Update – http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/state_profile_-_massachusetts_0.pdf

Boston Magazine: Bay State Repeal Ballot Legalizing Marijuana – http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/11/08/bay-state-repeal-ballot-legalize-marijuana-by-2016/