Healthcare professionals and leaders in the addiction industry are taking notice of what is called ‘maritime addiction.’ The overuse of opioids is a contributing factor with Fentanyl being particularly lethal for people in the states of Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Working at or around the sea is hard work, resulting in long hours and back-breaking work to bring home food for the family and community at large. Find out why addiction is hitting the fishing industry hard and how families can support loved ones.
Complicating Risk Factors
Opioids make things complicated in many ways. The work is physically demanding, with long hours of physical labor required. Over time, this breaks down the body to the point a person may suffer from pain, including injuries that don’t have time to heal and become chronic. With short seasons for work, fishermen go out to sea for weeks at a time, even with remote locations that do not provide access to healthcare. Medication may run out before a person gets back to land, and other drugs that may be available to take away the pain are then used to supplement what that person is not getting. A person who becomes addicted may switch to heroin because it is available and costs less. Getting help for addiction can be complicated.
Getting the right healthcare can be complex for people who work in the fishing industry and are isolated so much of the season. Being alone out at sea without accountability makes it easier to abuse substances as many other crew members may do as well just to make it through. Working in this environment is highly risky as people can overdose or suffer from withdrawal symptoms and need support but are too far away from land to get it. Once they return, they are likely to struggle with the addiction and keep doing it as long as they feel it is helping them cope.
Supporting a Loved One
Many people have livelihoods based on the fishing industry. Even if a person is not out at sea, they may be working in the industry supporting the fishermen, building careers and jobs around this lifestyle. Unfortunately, it takes a toll after a while. Alaska’s fishing crews to be safe from the impact of drug abuse takes time because people have to notice what is going on. When family and loved ones notice what is happening, it can positively impact someone to offer support and assistance. Addiction help is available for those who seek it. It may feel hard to reach out or ask a loved one if they need help, but the reality of addiction is that it won’t get better without help. Finding the right treatment program will be key to getting the support a person needs to thrive in recovery, heal their body, and return to the work and family they love.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We work with professionals from all corners, including maritime, seamen, fishermen and women, and those working in various industries impacted by it. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702