How Idaho Citizens Struggle with the Rising Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The eastern side of the United States has made national headlines lately due to rising rates of deaths from drugs. Statistics for those who are addicted are skyrocketing with every year, and those are only the people who admit to using or who have died from overdosing. The numbers of actual addicts are likely even higher than what those statistics reveal.

Though it hasn’t seen the same media attention, the Midwest is being hit similarly hard, and Idaho is one state that has suffered as a result of the drug crisis. At one time, Idaho was known for its struggles against meth, but like many states, opioid and heroin addiction has become endemic and has taken over as the most used substances in the state. What is becoming known in the state as a “heroin tsunami” is leading to destroyed lives, an increased death rate, and a constant battle with substance abuse.

Although the percentage of drug-related deaths in Idaho is lower than the national average, what is alarming is the rate at which these problems are increasing.

The Make-Up of Addiction in Idaho

Addiction Stats - IdahoIdaho has a smaller population than many states. Though it might seem that this would protect it against some aspects of this growing drug crisis, what it actually means is less funding for help throughout the state. In the past decade, for example, 5% of Idahoans ages 12 and older, or 96,000 people, admitted alcohol dependence. Another 9% reported drinking heavily in the past 30 days. The most recent data indicates that 5% of Idahoans admit illicit drug use or dependence.

These numbers are all on the rise, but none are growing as fast as opioid stats – 16% of high school students in the state have already used opioids without a prescription. Considering how fast they can become addicted, that 16% is huge – and if they do become addicted, the ramifications will be devastating and likely ripple throughout small Idaho communities.

Tsunami of Heroin Abuse

Throughout the U.S., heroin has become a cheap and easily obtainable alternative to prescription painkillers. Law enforcement officials like Police Chief Scot Haug of Post Falls report a “significant increase” in heroin usage. Currently, heroin has surpassed methamphetamines and marijuana in abuse. In the past four years, heroin-related deaths have increased in Idaho communities. Law enforcement officials have processed about 20 heroin items a year through evidence. Some heroin rings, such as one in Coeur d’Alene, include physicians. The most recent data reveals 1.1% of all drug arrests in Idaho are related to black tar heroin.

Pitfalls to Addiction Care in Idaho

Much of Idaho’s effort to eradicate drug abuse focuses on Treasure Valley, which stretches from Boise to the western Oregon border, encompassing many major cities including Caldwell, Nampa, and Meridian. In an effort to overcome the epidemic, the state is focusing on curbing the influx of drugs, but it’s a little like putting a finger on a crack in the dam. Truckloads of methamphetamine, heroin, and other drugs find their way into Treasure Valley and throughout Idaho every day. Idaho’s law enforcement agency has a reputation for having a reactionary attitude toward substance abuse, and their agencies are already stretched thin.

Currently, Idaho is developing studies and programs that will help alleviate substance abuse problems. The Idaho State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup has discovered at least 150 indicators of substance abuse to study across the state. While studies are ongoing, advocates, legislators, and drug abuse experts do their part to fight opioid and other addictions. The Idaho Office of Drug Policy and the state Drug Abuse Prevention Workgroup lend much support. Campaigns such as Lock Your Meds Idaho have decreased prescription drug addictions somewhat, and legislation such as House Bill 108, which allows emergency use of naloxone, is saving people from opioid overdoses.

Though these efforts will help in the long run, they are in early stages and do little for those who are suffering from addiction today. In addition, addiction is heavily stigmatized in the Midwest, including Idaho. People who need help are often afraid to reach out. Small towns can be brutal for those who are suffering, and addiction as a disease is still not fully understood.

Florida for Help with Addiction Recovery

Though the battle against addiction is in its early stages for government agencies in Idaho, in Florida, it has been waging for decades. Treatment centers there have the experience and skill to help those who are struggling, no matter where they are. The small communities in Idaho, though ideal for creating close relationships, also make it difficult to break out of addiction. Those who are struggling are always nearby to someone who can hook them up, and habits are developed in large part based on our environment.

Removing yourself from the place where you became addicted it an important first step in recovery. At The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches, LLC, we believe it’s crucial to getting your life back. Florida offers nutrient-rich sunshine and healing warmth. For people who became addicted due to injury or chronic pain, recovering in a place that eliminates some of the challenges of detoxing will make a healthy lifestyle easier to obtain. Florida’s environment does just that. Florida is home to some of the world’s leading substance abuse experts, including physicians and mental health professionals.

Seek Help from the Treatment Center

Many Idahoans choose to come to Florida to receive drug addiction treatment, and our facilities are located just miles from the beach. Maybe that’s inviting enough, but the real draw is our team of experienced and caring professionals. We have trained medical professionals to treat the physical aspects of the body and skilled counselors to help heal the mind. At The Treatment Center, we don’t just treat the addiction; our holistic approach incorporates recovery of the mind, body and spirit. To get help with a drug addiction, wherever you are, call us. We can help you get on a path to recovery.

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