As OxyContin and heroin users pour into treatment centers, the funds for the services to help them are shrinking, putting those on the front lines of the latest drug war in a massive bind.
“We have a growing population of heroin addicts and OxyContin users,” said Robert Walton of STEP Inc., an outpatient treatment center near North Station. “We struggle with trying to service them and to get them into ... treatment.”
A state commission report released earlier this month labeled the Oxy and heroin craze a “public health epidemic.” But as health services take their share of budget cuts any hope for a quick remedy seems unlikely, particularly in areas of the city where where heroin can be bought for less than the price of a six-pack.
“Because of the price people from all over the state are coming into Roxbury,” said Earl Dandy, of STEPRox, a branch of STEP Inc. established last year in Dudley Square. “And because of a lot of the state budget cuts it has affected our programs drastically.”
Two rehab centers in Dudley were recently closed and the price of the drugs keeps on dropping.
“Everybody’s hitting it,” Dandy said. “It’s so easy to get.”