Drug and Substance Abuse Disorders: A Look at the West

An open field with mountains as backdrop

Is the opioid crisis getting worse? What drugs are the most prevalent in your state? Every year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases a report that outlines the status of drug use in the United States. This report gives a snapshot of how specific parts of the country are doing and what challenges they face from drug use. What are the conclusions from the CDC’s 2018 annual report?

Drug Use in the US

According to the CDC report, more than 630,000 Americans died from a drug overdose between 1999 and 2016. The drug crisis has its roots in the 1990s when large amounts of prescription opioids began to be used to treat acute or chronic pain. This problem is still going on today. The report states that in 2017, 17.4 percent of the American population received at least one opioid prescription, with the average person receiving 3.4 prescriptions.

Addiction to prescription painkillers was followed by significant increases in deaths from heroin use, which was then followed by deaths from opioids such as fentanyl. In addition to increased overdose rates, substance use has contributed to children being born addicted to substances, more children in foster care, more jobs lost and other family challenges. In 2015, the United States saw 316,900 hospitalizations for nonfatal drug poisonings and 547,543 emergency department visits. Approximately 48.5 million people, or 18 percent of the total population, reported drug misuse in 2016. In that year, drug misuse and opioid deaths reached a new high, often driven by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

What About the West: A Look at the Most Common Drugs

The West runs just behind the South in overall prescription drug abuse. In the West, the most commonly used drug is marijuana, according to the self-reported use questionnaire for people ages 12 and up. Marijuana is more commonly used here than in any other part of the United States. Just under 12 percent of people reported using marijuana in 2016.

The second most commonly used category of drugs is opioids. These include prescription opioids and heroin. Of the prescription drug misuse experienced in the West, the majority is for prescription painkillers. The West actually has the lowest number of heroin-related poisonings; those are more prevalent in the Northeast. The West has a slightly higher rate of use of opioids than other parts of the country do, but not by much. About 1.6 percent of people used opioids in the West versus 1.3 percent in the rest of the country.

Those in larger metropolitan areas were the most likely to use marijuana. Opioid use was most common in smaller metropolitan areas, while completely rural areas were slightly more likely to use heroin.

While there are people who deal with substance abuse in every age category, there are some common trends that reveal who is using the most drugs. Unfortunately, young people are most likely to misuse substances. This is particularly true of those younger than age 26. However, even though teens are not using as many drugs as young adults, they are still using them at an alarming amount, with 6.5 percent of teens ages 12–17 stating that they had used drugs.

Profile of Drug Misuse

The typical American who abuse drugs in the West is male. However, when it comes to overall opioid addiction, women are not far behind. Typically, about 20 percent of men and more than 15 percent of women reported the misuse of prescription or illegal drugs in 2016, which may be partly caused by prescription painkillers. The vast majority of individuals who use drugs identify as white.

Help Is Available

Help for substance abuse is available. While the drug crisis is severe, 2.2 million people per year seek help for their drug misuse. Checking into a treatment center can provide you with the medical assistance that you might need to safely stop misusing drugs. It can also provide you with the ongoing strategies, medications and emotional support to move toward a life of sobriety. Many treatment centers allow families to be involved in the recovery process through support groups or family counseling.

Colorado Drug Rehab Options

Examining the CDC report may make you feel like the drug problem in the West is overwhelming. Luckily, there are many addiction treatment resources available to you, your friends and family members who might benefit from drug treatment. When you are looking for a Colorado drug rehab center, look for a center that provides strong options and support for those in recovery. These options might include:

  • Medical assistance for weaning off of drugs, like detox, so that you can move into sobriety safely
  • A variety of intensive inpatient and outpatient programs so that you can receive the treatment that you need in a way that will work for you
  • Alternative therapies such as art therapy to provide you with a new focal point and positive activity
  • An understanding of dual diagnoses and various ways to support those who are diagnosed with specific learning or emotional needs
  • Aftercare programs that integrate with your post-treatment life and allow you to continue receiving support long after the intensive part of the program is completed

Are you looking for Colorado addiction treatment resources? The Recovery Village Palmer Lake can help you find the resources you could benefit from in order to move into a life of sobriety. The facility provides support for you every step of the way as you transition into sobriety and long-term addiction recovery. Contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake to learn about admissions today.