What Is the Reality of Puerto Rico's Current Drug Crisis?


Created On: Monday, 21, October 2019
Modified On: Wednesday, 13, November 2019

Since Hurricane Maria, the island of Puerto Rico has been making a slow recovery back from the disaster. The island has struggled with problems associated with crime, addiction, and poverty. Drug abuse has been a consistent issue within the territory of decades, such as with cocaine, heroin, and now fentanyl. For example, there are an estimated 60,000 intravenous drug users in Puerto Rico. Before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was a popular transfer point for drug cartels due to its geographical location. The island is still used as a trafficking point, but the damage to transportation routes has made it harder.

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Pharmaceutical grade fentanyl is produced in Puerto Rico and it has become a popular drug with the decreased supply of heroin being brought into the island. However, intravenous drug use in Puerto Rico has created one of the highest HIV rates within the nation. Over 40% of the people who contract the disease get it from dirty needles used for injecting drugs. Many of the drug treatment programs in Puerto Rico struggle to provide adequate treatment for all addicts seeking help. However, there is a higher percentage of drug rehab programs in Puerto Rico that accept Medicaid and Medicare and private health insurance plans.

Roughly 50% of the drug treatment programs in Puerto Rico offer intensive outpatient services, and around 12% have adolescent programs, and 66% provide transitional aftercare. The poverty rate in Puerto Rico is extremely high and most of the population relies on government assistance programs for help. However, the debt crisis in Puerto Rico does not leave the government much to put back into the country. Drug and alcohol abuse affects people from all over the territory, regardless of their age or sex. If you are struggling with an addiction, Drug Rehab Services can help you find the programs you need for treatment.