The community under focus in this paper is that of Baltimore, Maryland 21202. It is the most populous in Maryland representing eleven percent of the population of Maryland. The community borders Patapsco River, which is a branch of Chesapeake Bay. It has a very good harbor and thus, it acts as the main port in the region. It has a diverse economy with robust legal, financial, and service industries that are not for profit making (Somerset Publishers, 1999). The community leads in the development and scientific research through Maryland Hospital University and Johns Hopkins, which are highly acclaimed medical institutions. The region also has a strong tourist sector with attraction sectors such as the Habor place, National Aquarium, Babe Ruth Museum, Maryland Science Center, Pimlico Race Course, Fort McHenry National Monument, and Preakness. Since the community leads in the development and scientific research as well as tourism, it attracts people from a diverse background that includes even politicians. Therefore, it is well connected in the international arena. Also, the community harbors critical entertainment, academic, cultural and historical assets and as such, the community is the economic engine that drives the Baltimore Metropolitan area. On the contrary, Baltimore residents are of medium income and its wealth per capita is less than a third of Maryland’s wealth and that of other counties in Maryland that encompass Carroll, Anne Arundel, Howard, and Hartford.
Common Interests or Problems
The community of Baltimore is plagued by the addiction of drugs and alcohol with heroin being the drug that is mostly being abused. Most individuals who are under treatment admit combining heroin with other substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. The medical records of the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ADDA) indicate that 12% of the population is in need of treatment for substance abuse (Aguirre-Molina, Borrell & Vega, 2010). The treatment systems that are funded by the taxpayers’ money are always highly clogged by drug and alcohol addicts. As such, there is always a big gap between the existing resources for treatment and the individuals who are in need of treatment which results in more use of drugs and alcohol. In addition, the individuals suffering from such addictions engage in criminal activities and prostitution which in effect results in more HIV/AIDS as well as ruined families. Substance abuse which results in high rates of school drops out, HIV infections, and high rates of crime result in more traumatic effects (Lopez & Carrillo, 2001). The traumatic effects are as a result of a family losing its loved ones through death which arises due to HIV infections, crimes, and the excessive use of the hard drugs.
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The high use of alcohol and drugs in the community of Baltimore has resulted in higher violent crimes which account for more than a half of the cases of HIV/AIDS in the community (Aguirre-Molina, M., Molina & Zambrana, 2001). Researchers also indicate that high school students in Baltimore have a lower possibility of graduating than other counties in Maryland. All these just result in traumatic effects to the community.
Issues and Assets
The drug addiction in Baltimore is closely related to violence, severe health problems, social, and criminal problems (Floyd & Seale, 2002). As such, Baltimore is regarded as a region that is highly populated with criminals as well as prostitution that both put the lives of the residents in danger. Of the most affected ethnic group is the Hispanic population. It is also important to note that such people rarely seek medical help from the public hospitals because most of them are undocumented immigrants, and thus, they fear being deported if the public gets to know of their existence in Baltimore as undocumented immigrants. Most of the people with the Hispanic origin are regarded as drug traffickers as well as drug abusers. Of late, Baltimore started offering treatments of innovative nature for the Hispanics who are heroin addicts. Such treatments encompass buprenorphine treatment which is of long term as well as interim maintenance of methadone for the individuals who are awaiting the standard treatment of methadone. Alternatively, there are considerable unmet requirements for the treatment of drugs in Baltimore. Such include the decline in the funding for the uninsured drug treatment by close to ten million dollars. The individuals who are constantly looking for treatment are regularly turned away because of the unavailability of the treatment slots and other services that relate to treatment.
Health Problems in Baltimore
Health disparities are mostly synonymous in Baltimore. 12% of the Baltimore’s population of 600,000 lives below the line of poverty and the ethnic minority population such as the Hispanic and the African Americans continue to bear the cost of the deprived health. Some of the health problems are discussed below (Iannotta & Ebrary, Inc. 2002).
The life expectancy of the poor people, especially the Hispanics in Baltimore at birth is seventy years as compared to that of the white people within the same period. The newborn babies in Baltimore have a higher percentage of having low birth weight as compared to other newborn babies in other counties in Maryland. In addition, the Hispanic women in Baltimore are twice more likely to give birth to babies who are of low weight when compared to the white mothers. In the past, the poor Hispanic babies were nine times more likely to die before attaining the age of one than the white babies with parents in Baltimore.
The Hispanics in Baltimore are twice more likely to perish from the complications that arise due to the HIV/AIDS infection when compared to their white counterparts in Baltimore. Such happens because of their inability to access good medical services because they are either poor or are afraid of being arrested because they are undocumented immigrants.
Health Care Accessibility
Most of the poor Hispanics in Baltimore, a percentage of about seventeen, do not have health insurance. As such, it forces them to use cash in hand to access the health facilities and services when they are in need of treatment and in the case when hard cash is not available because they are poor then it will force them not to go for treatment, and the result might be death.
Notably, the three mentioned problems are in existence, and they should not be denied at all costs. Such problems continually escalate the rate of mortality of the ethnic group in question. It can also be said that the community is well aware of the problems facing it since there are lots of researches that have been conducted that reveals the extent to which such problems run deep in the community (Szalay, Strohl, & Doherty, 2002). The problem is that the affected people are not willing to seek help because their practices will be known in the community (Schaefer & Burglass, 1997). The problems are of high priority to the community because such problems continually derail the development process since a bigger portion of the scarce resources go to the rehabilitation and treatment of the alcohol and drug addicts. Additionally, millions of dollars have to be allocated to the building of more facilities that can accommodate the high number of the hard substance addicts.
To conclude, the entire community can come together with the core intention of assisting the poor drug and alcohol addicts. The leadership of the community should have mobile health clinics, doctors, and nurses who can attend to such people at their homes and also reduce the cost of medical services to the people.
Aguirre-Molina, M., Borrell, L. N., & Vega, W. (2010). Health issues in Latino males: A social and structural approach . New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Aguirre-Molina, M., Molina, C. W., & Zambrana, R. E. (2001). Health issues in the Latino community . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Floyd, M. R., & Seale, J. P. (2002). Substance abuse: A patient-centered approach . Abingdon, U.K: Radcliffe Medical Press.
Iannotta, J. G., & Ebrary, Inc. (2002). Emerging issues in Hispanic health: Summary of a workshop . Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
Lopez, A., & Carrillo, E. (2001). The Latino psychiatric patient: Assessment and treatment . Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub.
Schaefer, F. S., & Burglass, M. E. (1997). Patient alcohol abuse: A guide for health care professionals . Miami, FL: Health Studies Institute.
Szalay, L. B., Strohl, J. B., & Doherty, K. T. (2002). Psychoenvironmental forces in substance abuse prevention . New York: Kluwer Academic.
Somerset Publishers. (1999). The encyclopedia of Maryland . St. Clair Shores, Mich: Somerset Publishers.