ZANESVILLE, Ohio – As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across the state of Ohio, officials with the DEA say stimulants are beginning to pose a significant threat to society and public safety. While the top five counties for stimulant abuse include Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Lucas, and Butler counties; local officials say Muskingum County is also noticing a trend of stimulants on the rise. Steve Carrel, Director of Muskingum Behavioral Health, says the trend is rising slowly but surely.
“We’ve seen a gradual migration from the opiates to stimulants; and sometimes the stimulants are actually laced with opiates. Other areas of Ohio, this transition has already taken place. Part of the issue is opiates are getting all of the attention; and if that’s getting all the attention then people with addictions are like, ‘Well, we don’t want to be in the spotlight’ so they’ll go someplace else.”
Substances classified as stimulants can range from common caffeine to dangerous street drugs—and nearly all stimulants are considered to be easily accessible to the public.
“One stimulant that a lot of people use is caffeine. I mean, caffeine is one of the basic stimulants. But you have cocaine—crack cocaine, you have prescription medicines like adderall; and another street drug is methamphetamine. Basically, its any chemical that amps up a person—stimulates their central nervous system.”
A recent study by the Drug Enforcement Administration found that stimulants are now easier to gain access to than marijuana. Officials with Muskingum Behavioral Health are working to treat addiction within the community.