Hurricanes drive addiction issues into public square - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Hurricanes drive addiction issues into public square

By CARLA K. JOHNSON and NOMAAN MERCHANT
Associated Press

Disasters like hurricanes cause stress, and stress can cause relapse for people struggling with addiction - whether their problem is alcohol, tobacco, pills or heroin.

Authorities planning for disasters now factor in the heightened danger of relapse and drug overdoses. Public health workers try to protect active drug users from infection by distributing extra injection supplies.

In a Miami neighborhood, a needle exchange program handed out extra syringes to heroin users in advance of Hurricane Irma. Others trying to break from the drug's grasp picked up advance medication from methadone clinics.

The state of Florida has granted methadone clinics discretion to provide up to five days of medication ahead of Hurricane Irma. In Texas and Louisiana, some patients took home advance doses of methadone. Others received it in shelters.

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