Populated with nearly 2 million people, Nebraska is ranked number 30 in the National Crime Rate. The state of Nebraska is known for it’s farming and poultry plants. This state is a home to over 165 meat and poultry packaging plants and has over 55,000 farms throughout the state. Nebraska has a major problem of Methamphetamine according to the Nebraska Law Enforcement. Interstate 80 runs through the state and makes this a convenient way for meth to be transshipped into Nebraska which has increased the need for Nebraska drug rehab centers. Hispanics have had a big increase in the population of Nebraska in the past few years. This allows them to blend in with the members that are connected with the Mexican drug traffickers.
Nebraska Drug Rehab Is On The Rise
Nebraska does not have a major problem with the drug heroin. It can be obtained in small portions in the Omaha area by the Hispanic groups that are involved in trafficking. Another drug that is very popular is marijuana. Throughout Nebraska this drug is available in most major cities. The majority of this drug comes from Mexico and Washington. Washington provides this drug for Nebraska by getting it from Canada. Hispanics are the major resources for Nebraska to receive marijuana. Marijuana is brought into the state by Amtrak, buses and any other moving vehicle.
Nebraska also suffers from a major problem of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and any form of cough syrup that has codeine in it. Addicts that have a problem with this drug will go through a number of ways to obtain it, such as going to a number of doctors and getting them to prescribe some sort of pain medication and also they will forge a prescription if it comes down to it. The state of Nebraska sees more of the pharmaceutical drugs abused more than any other traditional drugs. Also local communities in Nebraska along with the state police are seeing a popular demand in club drugs that are coming from the south such as Florida and Texas.
Like many other states in the nation, Nebraska is experiencing its share of drug problems. Substance abuse creates many challenges for individuals with addictions, their families and others in the community. Despite having less problems related to substance abuse than the rest of the nation, Nebraska still faces many challenges. Drugs most commonly abused in Nebraska are alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs and methamphetamines. Unfortunately, the problem of substance abuse extends into Nebraska’s youth population as well.
Demographics of Substance Abuse
In a 2013 report compiled by the Executive Office of the Whitehouse, it was found that the drug problem in the state of Nebraska is lower than the national average. It was estimated that approximately 7.01 percent of Nebraska residents used illegal drugs, with the national average being 8.82 percent. Within a month of the survey, it was found that 2.98 percent of Nebraskan residents reported using an illicit drug other than marijuana, with the national average at 3.6 percent. The Executive Office based this information on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2009-2010. Part of the reason for Nebraska’s overall reduced rate may be related to its demographics. Nebraska is large state with a relatively small population. Economically, Nebraskan residents had a lower percentage of people living below the poverty level at 11.5 percent, compared to the national average of 13.3 percent. The national average for the labor force, consisting of all working individuals over 16 years of age is 65.0 percent. Nebraska had a higher rate of employment at 71.3 percent. Less people, more space and higher employment rates often have reduced crime and abuse of illicit substances.
Popular Drugs in Nebraska
The drugs which are most commonly abused in Nebraska are legal. Alcohol and prescription drugs are commonly abused by residents of Nebraska. In 2004, 49.2 million gallons of alcoholic beverages were sold in Nebraska at the wholesale level, containing an estimated 3.2 million gallons of ethanol alcohol. Schaefer, Miller, and Palm (2007) report that in 2005, alcohol was the most commonly abused substance for residents in Nebraska.
– 55.6 percent of all individuals ages 12 and older drank alcohol within a month of the survey.
– 27.2 percent of the individuals surveyed engaged in binge drinking on a regular basis. Binge drinking is consuming five or more alcoholic beverages on a single occasion.
– 6.5 percent of those surveyed reported using other illicit drugs.
Binge drinking is very high in Nebraska. Binge drinking among Nebraskan women between 18-44 years old is higher than the national average at 19.0 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively. Schaefer et al (2007) found that 57.9 percent of women in Nebraska who delivered a child in 2002, reported drinking during the three-months prior to pregnancy; which was at a higher number than the national average at 47.5 percent.
Particular Problems with Prescription Drug Use in Nebraska
Prescription drugs are becoming more problematic, not just in Nebraska, but nation-wide. The most popular type of prescription drugs are opioids, or painkillers. Other types of prescription drugs which are commonly abused are tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives. Though Nebraska has a lower problem with illegal drugs than the national average, there is an increasing epidemic of individuals addicted to pain medication. Part of the problem is that because pain medication is often prescribed by trusted physicians and pharmacists for legitimate reasons, it is perceived to be safe. Ruggles (2012) reports that one in 30 Nebraskan residents misuse prescription drugs. In September 2012, 16 residents of Fremont, Nebraska were arrested for reselling prescription painkillers.
Prescription drug abuse presents a unique problem for physicians and pharmacists because it can be difficult to distinguish people who legitimately require the medicine from those who are trying to abuse it. There are warning signs that physicians can look for in patients who are trying to obtain painkillers for illicit purposes. Ruggles (2012) quotes Chris Kober, a professional investigator, on describing certain characteristics of individuals who want a prescription for illicit purposes. Abusers of prescription drugs may display the following characteristics:
– They may not have information regarding insurance or not want to use their insurance.
– They tend not to have identification information, such as driver’s licenses or Social Security cards.
– They have no regular physician or pharmacy.
– They may display allergies to medications with a reduced strength.
– They may request specific medications.
– Their symptoms may not match the physician’s observations.
– They may refuse other treatments or further examinations, despite the physician’s recommendation.
Healthcare providers may still have difficulty, even when using these guidelines. When patients are in pain, there is a need to help them. Many people became addicted to prescription drugs because they initially needed them. Unfortunately, their frequent need to reduce pain resulted in a chemical dependence.
The problems with prescription drug abuse is becoming so epidemic that Nebraska is trying to implement Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) to track controlled substances that were prescribed by physicians and distributed by pharmacies. The PDMPs help with the care for addicted patients, inform healthcare providers of the early warning signs of drug epidemics, and in the detection of drug diversion and insurance fraud. Even though 41 states in the nation have active PDMP programs, Nebraska is still one of nine states and territories which have a prescription drug program authorized, but not operational. The Executive Office reports that the LB 237 law was enacted in April, 2011. This law would demand a statewide PDMP in Nebraska. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services is working with the existing Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NEHII) to establish technology for the program and implement rules and regulations to authorize use of the electronic health information.
Illegal Drug Abuse in Nebraska
Methamphetamines are a popular drug for substance abuse in Nebraska. Even though they are not as easily accessed as alcohol and prescription medication, methamphetamines are still highly available. Because Nebraska is a state with a largely rural area, it is easier for “meth labs” to operate. Methamphetamines are a greater threat to more Nebraskan residents, as they are available in almost every town and community. They are the second most commonly used drug among newly incarcerated prison inmates, with 40 percent of prison inmates as users. In a 2005 survey, Schaefer et all (2007) reported that methamphetamine use was higher among Nebraskan residents ages 12 and older than the national average. The use of methamphetamines is becoming even higher than marijuana. The Executive Office (2013) reports that 35 percent of primary drug treatment admissions in Nebraska were for stimulants such as methamphetamines, with only 27 percent of admissions for marijuana.
Schaefer et al (2007) states that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that marijuana use is still very prevalent. It accounted for three-fourths of all drug possession arrests in 2006, and was the most common substance found in drivers who were caught driving under the influence.
Problems Related to Alcohol and Drug Use in Nebraska
Substance abuse is expensive for residents in Nebraska and throughout the nation. “Alcohol and drug abuse costs the American economy an estimated $276 billion per year in lost productivity, health care expenditures, crime, motor vehicle crashes and other conditions. This represents more than $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States to cover the costs of adverse outcomes of alcohol and drug abuse” (Schaefer et al 2007). Motor vehicle accidents and injuries due to falls increase when engaging in illicit substances. Drug abuse is associated with other crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and homicide. Schaefer et al(2007) report the statistics regarding the top three arrest offenses in 2006:
– 13,409 arrests for Driving under the influence (DUI). DUI-related offenses were the leading cause of arrests for Nebraskan residents, accounting for 17.0 percent of arrests.
– 12,714 arrests for non-DUI alcohol-related crime.
– 10,502 arrests for possession, sales or manufacturing of illicit drugs in Nebraska.
Among the 10,502 arrests for possession, sales and manufacturing of illicit drugs,
– 10.8 percent occurred among juveniles under 18.
– 89.2 percent occurred among adults 18 and older.
Marijuana was the most common drug involving arrests, accounting for 75.2 percent of drug possession arrests, with non-narcotic drugs at 17.0 percent. For drug sales, non-narcotic drugs accounted for 36.2 percent of all arrests, with marijuana accounting for 27.2 percent. Crack cocaine is more of a problem in urban areas of Nebraska. It is common among one-fourth of all new prison inmates.
Property crimes such as theft and larceny are often related to obtain money for drugs. In 2006, it was estimated that seven percent of motor vehicle theft was related to drugs, with 30 percent for burglary and larceny.
Substance abuse in Nebraska contributes to an higher death rate. In 2004, there were 392 alcohol-related deaths and 61 deaths caused from the use of other illicit drugs. Deaths resulting from a motor vehicle accident have a positive correlation with drug abuse in Nebraska. Schaefer et al (2007) report that 34.1 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2006 involved alcohol and cost Nebraska an estimated $130.6 million. Driving under the influence of alcohol was also more likely to occur in Nebraska at 4.2 percent than the national average at 2.5 percent.
Though many law enforcement officials are well-equipped to handle drivers under the influence of alcohol, they are not as able to prosecute drivers who are under the influence of other drugs. The Executive Office (2013) reports that Nebraska has no Per Se standards that would make it illegal to drive a vehicle after taking illegal drugs. However, under Section 60-6, 196 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska, it is unlawful for any person to drive any motor vehicle when under the influence of alcoholic or drugs.
Illicit drug use has resulted many health problems and deaths in Nebraska. In 2004, there were 61 deaths related to drugs, or an estimated 3.6 deaths per 100,000 population. Ten additional deaths were estimated to have resulted from diseases related to drugs such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and AIDS. Homicide rates and other assault crimes also increased with the use of drugs. Drug use was responsible for 2887 hospitalizations:
– 55.4 percent of all motor vehicle crashes
– 12.9 percent of all assault
– 10.4 percent firearm
– 9.6 percent cuts and gashes.
– 7.6 percent of falls.
Drugs found in hospitalized patients include:
– Marijuana, as the most common drug, was found in 70.3 percent of the patients.
– Methamphetamines were found in 27.7 percent of the patients.
– Cocaine was found in 18.9 percent of the patients.
Despite the problems associated with drug abuse in Nebraska, the state has a lower death rate than the national average at 6.6 per 100,000 population compared to the national rate at 12.8 per 100,000.
Substance Abuse in Nebraskan Adolescents
Substance abuse not only effects the adults in Nebraska, but the youth as well. Abuse and misuse of both drugs and alcohol are problems for Nebraskan adolescents. While some experimentation is short-lived, all too often adolescents either develop addiction problems or sustain critical injuries which result in coma or death. Adolescents are also more likely to develop long-term health problems and engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex while under the influence. Another problem with substance abuse in adolescents is that they are still developing, and alcohol and illicit drugs may interfere with the proper growth of the brain, bones and endocrine systems.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) (2012) questioned random public high school students in Nebraska in the fall of 2010/2011, about their use of alcohol and drugs. Even though the use of alcohol declined since 2005, the use of other drugs remained high. Compared to 73 percent of high school students having consumed alcohol in 2005, only 61 percent of students reported alcohol consumption in 2011. In 2005, 30 percent of students reported binge drinking; this number dropped in half by 2011, with only 16 percent of students engaging in binge drinking. Alcohol consumption was also lower in Nebraskan adolescents than in adolescents nationwide. The use of alcohol was also more likely to increase as the students advanced in their grade level. However, alcohol consumption among adolescence is still related to dangerous behavior. The YRBS found that 24 percent of high school students reported either riding with a drunk driver or driving under the influence themselves.
The most popular alcoholic beverages consumed was liquor, followed by beer, flavored malt beverages, wine coolers and wine. Most students received their alcohol from someone who gave it to them, followed by someone who bought it for them, and then either taking it form a store or a family member. In fact, 60 percent of students who consumed alcohol reported that the event took place within a home environment. Marijuana was the most commonly abused drug at 25 percent, followed by prescription drugs at 12 percent, and then inhalants at 10 percent.
Even though marijuana is still commonly used, there has been a decline from 2005 to 2011.
– During 2011, one in four high school students, or 25 percent, reported using marijuana at least once during their lifetime.
– 13 percent of students reported using marijuana during within 30 days of the information gathered.
– One in twenty students survey, only 5 percent reported using marijuana before age 13 in 2011. This is a decrease since 2005 when 7 percent reported use before age 13.
Male and female students had a similar percentage for marijuana usage.
– 26 percent of males and 24 percent of females reported using marijuana at least once in their lifetime.
– 14 percent of males and 12 percent of females reported using marijuana within 30 days of the survey.
The data obtained on prescription drugs for Nebraska’s youth is not as extensive because it was not asked during previous surveys. There is still a significant problem with the abuse trends. One in eight high school students surveyed reported taking prescription drugs without a prescription at least once in their lifetime. There was no major statistical difference between male and female students, 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The overall trend among high school students with prescription drugs is that the use increased by grade level; with students from grade nine at 7 percent and students from grade 12 at 18 percent.
Another problem is that prescription drug abuse is less likely to be reported or discovered by parents and other professionals. While parents may recognize signs of marijuana or methamphetamine abuse in their children, they may not be aware that their child is abusing drugs that were prescribed. Some parents may even be in denial that their child is abusing drugs such as Ritalin that were prescribed by a trusted physician.
Rehab Helps End Addiction
For those ready to seek help for their addiction problem at a Nebraska drug rehab, call us to help set up a treatment program and to be guided towards a brighter and sober future.
Even though Nebraska does not statistically experience as many problems with alcohol and other drugs as in the rest of the nation, the state still has its own unique challenges. And while illegal drugs contribute to much of Nebraska’s problems, legal drugs are presenting more of an issue for residents. If both the national and state government can recognize Nebraska for its individual problems with substance abuse, then the illicit use of alcohol and other drugs may decline.