Louisiana is a beautiful state, with forests, marshes, plains, and miles of picturesque coastline. Its rich culture and fascinating history have endeared it to countless adventure and recreation seekers, and many of its cities – most notably New Orleans – serve as popular, heavily-visited tourist destinations. Last year, Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans attracted over 1.4 million revelers!
But aside from its varied culture, cuisine and attractions, Louisiana is also home to a severe (and only growing) substance abuse problem. Its flourishing tourism industry has only exacerbated the issue, as the throngs of tourists constantly passing through serve as both a natural camouflage and eager clientele for the many shrewd drug dealers.
Alcohol and drugs are both widely abused in Louisiana, with confirmed addiction and overdose numbers reaching alarming numbers since the onset of the Covid – 19 pandemic. In a single year, there were 113 alcohol – induced deaths and 6,832 years of potential life lost due to alcohol abuse – all in the Louisiana population under age 21. Within four years, 238,000 (or 7.5%) of Louisiana residents admitted they were heavy drinkers; altogether, 18.8% of Louisiana adults drink excessively. Between the years 2019 and 2020, alcohol – induced driving deaths in Louisiana increased by 8.9% – despite the fact that there were actually significantly less drivers on the road due to Covid. This only another indicator of the growing mental health crisis in Louisiana – and the United States as a whole.
Drugs are a looming issue in Louisiana as well. Over 130,000 Louisiana residents suffer from a confirmed drug addiction, with the most popular drugs being marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines. Additionally, Louisiana lays claim to some of the worst overdose rates per capita in all of America. In 2021, 15 out of every 1000,000 people in Louisiana fell victim to an unintentional overdose; within five years, drug overdose deaths in Louisiana rose from 18.9% to 41.5%. In a one-year timespan, the average overdose mortality in Louisiana rose by a frightening 56%. The primary driver behind this uptick in overdoses is opioids, most notably fentanyl – an incredibly potent painkiller which is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine.
The substance abuse epidemic only continues to spread, yet not nearly enough of its victims in Louisiana are receiving the treatment they need. Whether due to financial, legal, emotional or practical barriers, for thousands of people, rehab remains out of reach – and their cries go unheard, all too often ending in tragedy.
Avenues Recovery Center was founded upon the belief that human life is precious, and that every single person deserves the chance to heal and create a life worth living – regardless of their race, religion, or financial status. This belief is the guiding light in all that we do and is the sole reason behind our upcoming opening of yet another rehab facility in Louisiana. There has never been a greater need for high-quality addiction treatment options in Louisiana, and we rejoice at the opportunity to open yet another 104 beds to the public. Addiction may be a formidable force – but together, we are stronger!
Avenues Recovery Center. Saving lives, one day at a time.
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