Substance Abuse Trends in Kansas: Drug and Alcohol Facts

Across the United States, millions of people struggle with substance abuse. Some will succumb to its grip, ending up sick or dead. At least 23 million Americans currently deal with alcohol and drug addictions, but few addicts ever get treatment, for a number of reasons. Often, the lack of access to quality treatment is a factor, but so is the stigma or the fear that seeking treatment will result in legal consequences.

According to the National Substance Abuse Index, Kansas fights against substance abuse every day, but has more problems with some substances than others. A 2015 study of Kansas’ youth reveals drug overdose and death rates have quadrupled in the state over the past 12 years. Overdoses and death are especially common in males ages 12 to 25. The most recent data indicate Kansas’s experiences 5.9 overdose deaths for every 100,000 youths. Although this is below the national average, there are many reasons to believe substance abuse will only increase in Kansas as the next decade approaches.

Methamphetamine is currently Kansas’ most significant drug threat, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Locally produced methamphetamines are readily available, but Kansas receives much of its meth supply from Mexican criminal groups based in California and throughout the Southwestern U.S. Both Mexican drug trafficking organizations and local dealers supply methamphetamines, and the drug is sold almost anywhere in many Kansas communities. Street and outlaw motorcycle gangs often distribute meth, but it’s also available through retail sellers.

Cocaine, especially crack, is Kansas’ second-biggest drug threat. Cocaine is available in the state, although crack cocaine is more often found in urban areas. Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs available, and it is highly sought after in Kansas and across the U.S. As with meth, Mexican criminal groups and local gangs often dominate cocaine production and distribution. Independent cocaine dealers are also common, often selling retail quantities on Kansas streets. Both methamphetamine and cocaine are generally associated with violent crimes, including murder and assault. In particular, the product of meth and meth lab seizures lead to a great number of Kansas’ violent crimes.

Marijuana is the state’s most widely available and frequently abused drug. More Kansas residents are admitted to treatment facilities for marijuana abuse than for abuse of alcohol or any other drug. Since marijuana’s legalization in Colorado and Washington, D.C., the quality of Kansas marijuana has improved, making it more sought after than ever.

Shortfalls of Substance Abuse Care in Kansas

Kansas, like every other state, endeavors to control and eradicate substance abuse, especially among its young people. Yet evidence suggests the state is not doing enough to combat the problems, and what resources that are available could be working better. For instance, Kansas does not currently have a Good Samaritan law. These laws protect addicts seeking medical attention from legal consequences, such as arrest or jail time. Good Samaritan laws also protect friends and loved ones who fear they might be judged guilty by association when seeking help for an addict. Without legislation like the Good Samaritan law, addicts in Kansas are less likely to seek help when necessary and far more likely to die from substance-related causes.

Kansas is dedicated to educating its youth about the dangers of substance abuse. Much of the substance abuse in the U.S. begins in schools, so educational programs are a must. “We need to move beyond ‘just say no,’” says Jeffrey Levi of Trust for America’s Health. Levi says substance abuse is not a matter of willpower and indicates both Kansas and the U.S. at large must work on more effective policies regarding substance abuse.

Disturbingly, Kansas’ substance abuse treatment demographics are steadily shifting toward younger patients. Kansans ages 18 to 25 currently make up 30 percent of substance abuse treatment seekers, according to Stacy Chamberlain, an addiction services director for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. That’s a significant change from 15 years ago when most addicts in Kansas were older than 18. Despite this change, there is not enough substance abuse research, policies, or programs aimed at Kansas’ young adults.

Kansas also currently suffers from a lack of information about the effects of certain drugs. For instance, Kansas’ attorney general, Derek Schmidt, has attempted to institute a statewide program to track how high-quality marijuana acquired in Colorado affected Kansas. Existing criminal justice systems do not have the capabilities to track marijuana from Colorado into Kansas. Much of the information Schmidt has acquired is anecdotal, leaving Kansas law enforcement officials without specific plans aimed at dealing with substance abuse.

Seeking Out-Of-State Recovery Care

Kansas has deficiencies in the delivery of care for addiction recovery. Florida, on the other hand, is home to numerous treatment-based resources. Florida is home to one of the busiest shipping ports in the country, which makes it a prime target for drug traffickers. The easy availability of illicit drugs has made Florida ground zero for substance abuse.

To address the problems associated with addiction, Florida has developed a comprehensive infrastructure to assist patients in recovery. In fact, so many people from across the country seek treatment in our state that Florida is known as “The Recovery State.” The warm, tropical climate offers a relaxing atmosphere that is perfect for self-reflection and healing.

The Treatment Center Leads the Way

The Treatment Center delivers the best example of excellent drug and alcohol abuse recovery. We welcome our clients with open minds and hearts, treating them as valued guests throughout their time with us. We also offer support for clients’ loved ones. If you live in Kansas and are struggling with addiction, or know someone who is, contact us now. Let’s begin your journey toward recovery together.

At The Treatment Center, we deal not only with drugs common to Kansas, but myriad other substances. Our treatments are holistic, designed to help your entire being achieve full recovery. We treat the mind, body, and spirit with plans and combinations individualized to fit you. We also offer different levels of treatment, from partial hospitalization to long-term inpatient programs.

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