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The Need For Michigan Drug Rehab
Marijuana, heroin and cocaine are the biggest threats in Michigan. Mexican drug traffic organizations with ties to the southwest border regions and direct ties to Colombian drug cartels, are the biggest suppliers of drugs to the state of Michigan. This organization with its multiple connections can produce and supply the area with numerous amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
Cocaine and the crack cocaine abuse and trafficking are at very high levels though out the state of Michigan. With the trafficking of these drugs comes also the violence and illicit activities that make the drug that much more dangerous to the state of Michigan. With the purity levels between 45 and 95 percent and the availability levels from the low grams to several kilograms.
Heroin is mostly available in the Detroit Michigan area and the low-density areas of the state. The import of this drug comes from Mexico, South America and Africa.
Methamphetamine has been on the rise in Michigan in the last several years. There has been more meth labs found in the state but mainly small “MOM and POP” operations.
Marijuana is a problem in the state of Michigan due to the Canadian indoor grown “BUD” which is the strongest form of marijuana known to be available. Hundreds of pounds of this drug arrives at the northern border almost daily.
Substance abuse and illicit drug use are issues that affect every state. In Michigan, the issue has developed over the years with the addition of new substances and methods of obtaining them. The effects of this drug use include crime, lost business, increased taxes, disease and diminished quality of life for Michigan residents of all ages.
Addiction Rates in Michigan
Michigan has consistently peaked above national levels for illicit drug use as well as nonmedical use of painkillers for both past month and past year response periods. The state has frequently ranked among the 10 highest for rates of past year drug dependence. In addition, increasing numbers of infants are born as victims of congenital drug addiction each year.According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Michigan saw a total number of individuals with an alcohol addiction or abuse problem in the past year of 701,000. Of these individuals, over 50,000 of them were between the ages of 12 and 17. The total number of alcohol binge drinkers over a one month period exceeded 2,000,000 residents. The number of illicit drug users in the month before the survey was 750,000. Over 15 percent of these users were still minors.
Most Commonly Used Drugs
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug within Michigan, followed closely by heroin and prescription pain relievers. Other commonly used drugs include:
Alcohol use has risen in the past decade while methamphetamine labs have increased significantly as well. The state has seen an increase of nearly 300 percent in its police take down of meth labs in only a period of two years from 2007 to 2009. This finding suggests its availability has also risen rapidly and may lead to much higher rates of use in the future.
Drug Abuse Trends in Michigan
While marijuana is the most widely available illicit drug in the region, the sale and use of cocaine is the most significant due to its impact. Cocaine is also easily available, cheap, highly addictive and is commonly associated with acts of violence. Powder cocaine is most often used in suburban areas while crack cocaine is more prevalent in urban regions.Heroin abuse is increasing among young residents in rural and suburban areas, particularly among women. Many individuals use the drug casually through snorting. In the suburbs surrounding Flint, abusers will enter the city to purchase enough heroin to last through half of the week. Many of these new users are those that were previously prescribed drugs such as OxyContin. Once they could no longer obtain prescriptions, they resorted to taking up the street drug. Heroin abusers who began using the drug by smoking or using prescription medication often progress to using it intravenously. Others are more cautious about how they obtain their heroin and in what amount. This concern rises from the number of overdoses and deaths associated with heroin and fentanyl combinations. The most common form of heroin is SA, while Asian, black tar and Mexican brown powder are often found as well. The Mexican variety has shown increased prevalence in the Grand Rapids area.
A growing trend among adolescents is the “pharm party.” These events act as a potluck for pharmaceutical drug use. Attendees bring medication obtained from their parents or their own prescriptions. The pills are dumped into a container and guests take turns ingesting whatever drugs they have chosen at random. Additionally, adolescent drug users in Detroit are increasingly participating in recreational nitrous oxide use. The substance, known commonly as “laughing gas,” is often supplied to them by foreign criminal organizations.
The Prescription Problem
States beyond Michigan, including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, are suffering from the effects of prescription drug abuse made possible by those living in Michigan. Individuals in these areas are becoming addicted, getting arrested and spreading drugs made available by dealers in the state. The prescription painkiller OxyContin, known by some as “hillbilly heroin,” can run as high as $80 per pill. While the drug has severe effects in neighboring states, its nearby consequences are even worse. More Michigan residents die from the abuse of prescription drugs than those who use heroin or cocaine.The dealers of the prescribed medications acquire them legitimately from the doctors and dentists that may prescribe them even when no specific condition is being treated. While most of these doctors are either too ignorant to expect the medications to be used illegally or just eager to help the problem, others are actively involved in illegal prescription activity. Many individuals, including doctors, pharmacists and therapists, are now being help responsible for healthcare fraud and drug distribution within the state of Michigan.
Drug use leads to acts of crime committed by both users and dealers. Most of these crimes are violent or property crimes. Drug dealers aim to protect their businesses while abusers commit crimes to continue their drug use. Those who sell marijuana, heroin and cocaine tend to commit violent crimes such as assault and homicide to maintain or assert control over their area’s drug markets. Users of these drugs, as well as prescription medications, commit crimes such as burglary, robbery, theft and retail fraud in order to acquire the money needed to sustain the drug habit.Those who produce methamphetamines are more likely to steal the chemicals needed to concoct the drugs, while meth users are likely to commit theft, larceny and identity fraud to gain the money needed to purchase the substances. Methamphetamine users are also more likely to steal credit card applications from others’ mailboxes and complete them with someone else’s personal information. Once they have fraudulently obtained the cards they use them to cash out for drug funds.
Crack dealers have shown increasing acts of violent crime as younger and newer distributors seek to compete with more established ones. In the past, aspiring drug dealers worked underneath the accomplished suppliers as lookouts or errand runners and worked their way into becoming established. The scene of today’s Michigan drug rookies sees a lack of drive to work up the ladder. Instead, these newcomers resort to theft and violence to take property under their own control. Many even hatch schemes to pose as apprentices to learn the methods established dealers use to succeed. Once they’ve learned enough, they use that information to rob the bosses of money or drug supplies. In other instances the established dealers offer drug supplies to lower-level dealers only to take their money without providing the merchandise. These acts usually lead to retaliatory violence or murder.
The rate of deaths caused by drug use exceeds the national average in the state of Michigan. Drug deaths in the state account for 15.3 per 100,000 while the national rate stands at 13.7 per 100,000. More people die as a result of drug use than from motor vehicle accidents and firearm use. The state is in the top 20 for having the highest drug overdose mortality rates in the country. Since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths in Michigan increased by over 300 percent.A February 2013 study of alcohol users between 2006 and 2010 showed that an average of eight deaths occurred for every 100,000 across the state. These deaths were caused by a number of alcohol-related conditions, including:
- Alcoholic psychosis
- Alcohol Dependence Syndrome
- Alcohol polyneuropathy
- Alcohol myopathy
- Alcohol cardiomyopathy
- Alcoholic gastritis
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Alcohol induced chronic pancreatitis
- Alcohol poisoning
- Suicide by and exposure to alcohol
- Excessive alcohol blood level
Pregnant Users and Addicted Newborns
When expectant mothers use illegal drugs or abuse prescribed medication, their newborns are susceptible to experiencing withdrawal symptoms after birth. This experience is referred to as Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome, or NWS. This phenomenon is most common in pregnant women who frequently abuse prescription painkillers known as opiods, or those who use heroin. In the state of Michigan there were 1,509 newborns diagnosed with Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome between 2000 and 2009. The rates of NWS varied significantly by location with the highest rates of the condition being seen in the Upper Peninsula and northern areas of the Lower Peninsula.
Between 2000 and 2009 the rate of infants afflicted with Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome increased from 41.2 to 289.0 for every 100,000 hospital births. This change represents an increase of over 600 percent by the end of the decade. Newborns with this condition often suffer from low birth weight, feeding difficulties, respiratory complications and seizures resulting in longer hospital stays. During the decade, this additional care cost over $35 million according to the Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention, & Epidemiology.
Adolescent Drug Use
In the 2011 Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey, over 80,000 high school students admitted to having smoked marijuana within the previous month before the survey. Over half of those students were also classified as binge drinkers. Binge drinkers reported using marijuana ten times or more at a rate of 28 percent. Non-binge drinkers and nondrinkers reported this activity at rates of 8 and 2 percent, respectively. Binge drinkers were also four times more likely to abuse painkillers without prescription compared to nondrinkers. They were fifteen times more likely to use general prescriptions without a doctor’s authority when compared to nondrinkers.
Teenagers that abuse alcohol, prescription medications and other drugs are at a heightened risk for a number of life complications, these include:
- Unplanned pregnancy as a result of unprotected sex
- Drug dependence and likelihood of serious drug use or addiction later in life
- Concentration problems that affect memory, motivation and one’s ability to learn
- Health problems related to liver damage, respiratory complications, seizures and psychotic behavior
- Organ deterioration to the heart, lungs or kidneys
The Office of Adolescent Health compiled data on a number of drug-related behaviors among Michigan’s high school student population:
- The percentage of high school students that never tried a cigarette was better than the national average by 5 percent.
- The percent who did smoke was less than the national average.
- Students admitted to buying their cigarettes directly from a store or gas station.
- The number of students that drank alcohol before the age of 13 was lower than the national average at 16 percent.
- Over 30 percent of students admitted to having had a drink in the month before the survey.
- Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed admitted to binge drinking behavior.
- Ten percent of students admitted to sniffing glue, breathing the contents of aerosol cans or inhaling paints and other inhalants as a means of getting high.
Drinking and Driving Habits
The 2007 Michigan Youth Tobacco Survey showed the preference Michigan teens had for specific types of alcohol. This information is important because various strategies for reducing underage drinking revolve around the choice of beverage itself. Increasing alcohol excise taxes and restrictions on alcohol distribution and sales are some of these strategies. The survey showed that general alcohol consumption increased by grade level for students in grades 9-12. Among those who consumed at least one beverage in the 30 days prior to the survey, liquor was the most commonly used beverage across all grades and ethnic groups, and both sexes, at 38.1 percent. Beer was the second most frequently consumed beverage at 19.4 percent followed by “no usual type” and malt beverages at 15.5 and 15 percent, respectively. Other drinks included wine coolers and wine. Studies have shown evidence that increases in alcohol prices and taxes result in decreases in excessive alcohol use and related consequences including drunk driving, violent behavior and non-vehicular mortalities.
A 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health showed the patterns with which Michigan youth engaged in riding behavior with their intoxicated peers. The survey showed that female adolescents were more likely than their male counterparts to ride with someone who had been drinking. In contrast, males were more likely to drive after drinking. Those who had at least one alcoholic beverage in the previous 30 days were labeled as “current drinkers.” Of this group, 23 percent admitted to having driven after having a drink. Current drinkers were also three times as likely to ride with a driver who had a drink beforehand compared to “nondrinkers,” or those who had no drinks in the past 30 days. Only 13 percent of nondrinkers agreed to ride with a drinking driver compared to 46 percent of those who engaged in drinking the month prior. Participants in the survey were Michigan students in public high school in grades 9-12.
The 2010 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey showed that of adults who drank within the past 30 days before responding, over 4 percent admitted to driving after knowingly having too much to drink. Binge drinkers were women who consumed four or more alcoholic beverages at once and men who consumed five or more alcoholic beverages at a time. For those adults classified as binge drinkers, over 13 percent reported that they had driven after having too much to drink in the previous 30 days. The behavior of driving after knowingly having too much to drink was found to be most common among binge drinkers, young adults and males.
Economic Impact of Drug Offenders
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, or NSDUH, provides data on the national and state levels regarding alcohol and illicit drugs. In its most recent survey, almost 9 percent of Michigan’s residents admitted to have used illicit drugs in the previous month, a rate of almost 1 percent over the national average. Many of these users are eventually incarcerated because of drug transactions or violations of parole or probation caused by testing positive for illicit drugs. Of those behind bars, approximately 71 percent of males and 74 percent of females had been determined to have a substance abuse or dependency problem.This incarceration costs approximately $28,000 per person, causing the state to spend upwards of $160 million to keep drug offenders behind bars. The cost paid by Michigan’s taxpayers is even higher once investigation, prosecution and defense of each person charged with a drug offense are taken into consideration. Each year, consequences related to the use of alcohol and other drugs cost Michigan more than $2 billion. These consequences include health expenses, property damage, accidents and absenteeism. Lost productivity costs businesses up to $700 million.
One of the main causes for drug abuse in cities such as Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids is the sheer availability of these substances. As a legal substance, alcohol can easily be purchased by adults over 21. Even when not abusing it themselves, they may pass alcohol on to minors, making the behavior a crime. Prescription medications can also be obtained legally, then used for purposes beyond medical use. Illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine continue to grow in use and distribution, making them even easier to obtain.
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