The Need For South Dakota Drug Rehab
While Cocaine and Heroin are concerns, neither pose as big of a problem for South Dakota as Methamphetamine. These problems have caused an upbringing of South Dakota drug rehab centers. The demand for Methamphetamine is high and continues to rise along with the number of drug related crimes caused by Methamphetamine. South Dakota has also seen an upsurge in the number of advocates for Marijuana use. Many of the rural areas, which covers the majority of South Dakota’s geography, has been found to have an increasing number of Marijuana plantations where local advocates of the drug produce and distribute it.
Because of the growing drug trend in South Dakota, there is a rising number of college and high school drop-outs. Experts say this is caused by an increase in drug use and addiction among younger age groups and also because of deteriorating social coping skills caused by today’s technology that is widely available.
Mexican drug cartels control the majority of the drug trafficking and distribution in South Dakota by utilizing the well-developed transportation infrastructure of the state and the natural geography, such as the Missouri River, which cuts centrally across the state. Authorities continue to step up efforts to deter the drug problem within the state, but until then, they continue to implement more addiction treatment facilities.
Although South Dakota has taken many efforts to decrease and eliminate their drug problem within the state, the drug cartels and organized crime syndicates constantly seem to find ways to bypass the efforts of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the state. With the ever increasing drug and alcohol problem plaguing the state of South Dakota, the state continues to continually work to step up efforts to deter addiction through education and increasing the number of treatment programs.
South Dakota General Information
South Dakota is a large state with a 77,000 square miles, and a population of roughly 844,877. However, the sheer area of the state belies the population numbers; density is low, with just around 10 people per square mile on average. It’s largest city is Sioux Falls, with a population of just 159,000. Many of South Dakota’s residents live in very rural areas, far away from the cities. Large portions of the state are entirely untouched, considered to be a ‘badlands’ region that is inhospitable for most people.
South Dakota Drug Statistics
Due to the remote nature of many locations in South Dakota, drug use is a relatively major problem. With only 1,912 law enforcement officers across the entire state, there are few barriers to drug use. Reports from the National Substance Abuse Index show 6,757 reported instances of substance abuse, with roughly half of this coming from alcohol abuse. However, another 29 percent included a secondary drug in addition to alcohol. Cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine are the four major illegal drugs used in the state.
Despite these facts, South Dakota has the second lowest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States, according to Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit organization that monitors the health of various communities. The state with the lowest mortality rate is North Dakota. There are various reasons why South Dakota holds this ranking, but speculation often concludes it is because of the relative total population and the fractional number of drug users, compared to the overall populations of other states. With less people, less drug use occurs.
Crime Related to Drug Use
The instances of drug use in South Dakota have greatly increased over the past several years. There has been a 41 percent increase in incarceration since 2000, with a 70 percent increase of prisoners admitted for drug offenses. According to South Dakota Families First, 81 percent of the offenders incarcerated in 2012 were for nonviolent offenses, including drugs. The majority of these were charged with possession, rather than the manufacturing or distribution of illegal drugs.
What are the most popular drugs?
The use of cigarettes is by far the most prevalent issue in South Dakota of all types of drugs. According to the Center for Disease Control, 23 percent of individuals over the age of 18 smoked cigarettes. Another 23 percent of adolescents (under the age of 18) smoked cigarettes with a frequency of at least one per day. Due to the ease with which cigarettes can be obtained, they have become a major problem for the youth in South Dakota, with at least 9 percent of those under the age of 18 purchasing them from convenience stores on their own.
Aside from cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is another problem, with at around 6.8 percent of adults using it. A much higher percentage of youth used smokeless tobacco; a total of 14.7 percent. Tobacco, in both
cigarettes and smokeless form, continues to be a major problem among youths, not only in South Dakota but across the entire United States.
According to the Office of Adolescent Health, 19 percent of South Dakota’s youths drank alcohol regularly before age 13, with a total of 39 percent who drank at least once every thirty days. More than 26 percent of adolescents drank five or more alcoholic beverages within two hours within 30 days before the survey. 23 percent of those interviewed admitted to driving, or riding with someone who had consumed alcohol.
For those over the age of 21, South Dakota ranks fourth in overall alcohol consumption of all the states. With an estimated consumption rate of 38.9 gallons of alcohol per year per person, the state has a high alcohol relapse rate. Of the statistics quoted earlier relating to arrests, 3205 people were incarcerated for alcohol related crimes.
Perhaps the easiest to obtain drug in all of South Dakota, marijuana is readily used by both adolescents and adults. A total of 33 percent of high school students reported using marijuana at least one time in their life. While a reliable statistic isn’t available for adult usage, the drug is often imported from the southern states, as well as from Mexico. In addition, numerous grow operations have been discovered in the Sioux Falls area, used to produce higher purity marijuana. Various Native American tribes in the state also grow marijuana under the guise of hemp.
Heroin, while one of the most popular drugs in the state, is not widely used. Only 23 people of the state’s entire population were admitted into rehab for heroin usage. However, 4 percent of high school students report using the drug at least once. Heroin is usually found in very small, personal use quantities throughout South Dakota. However, another 4,267 residents did report the usage of opiates that may have included heroin.
Methamphetamine use is the fastest growing drug problem in South Dakota for various reasons. At least 2.7 percent of students have reported trying methamphetamine at least once during their lives. In 2006, 76 arrests were made concerning methamphetamine, and this number has continued to grow in that time. 9 methamphetamine labs were discovered in South Dakota during 2010. 4.4 of rehabilitation admissions have been for the use of methamphetamine, with a total of 646 people reporting the need for help.
A large amount of the methamphetamine coming into the state is from Mexican suppliers, transported in along Interstate 90, a location that is rapidly becoming a major drug pipeline across the country. Another large amount of the drug originates from sources in western states, while many people have established their own labs and set up distribution locally. In addition, an increasing amount of fertilizer and other supplies required to make methamphetamine have been stolen from stores across the state.
Cocaine is another drug that is easily available throughout South Dakota, with a majority of the supply coming from Mexican suppliers in Sioux City, or from the Denver area. However, despite the ease of availability, the amount of usage is much lower. Only 6 percent of high school students have reported using cocaine at any point in their lives. No adult statistics are available. Because of the relatively low supply, it is possible that prices for cocaine are much higher, making it a less popular choice of drug for much of the population.
There are numerous other drugs that consist in too small of concentrations to constitute their own section. One of these is MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy or LSD. Commonly found at raves and other sorts of parties, this drug is not commonly addictive, but is used in recreational quantities. Oxycontin, sometimes called oxycodone, is a pharmaceutical grade pain reliever that is highly addictive and abused often. This drug, in addition to codeine, darvocet-n, and hydrocodone are all problems across the state of South Dakota. Random combinations of chemicals used as inhalants are common among high school students looking for a quick high, but are not easily classifiable.
Potential Causes of Drug Abuse
South Dakota is home to several Native American Reservations, which have historically been problem points for alcohol and drug abuse. Because of neglect and poor federal investigations, many drug runners and producers see these reservations as ‘golden’ points for growing and creating more drugs. In addition, a large amount of the Native American population suffers from alcohol addiction. Up to 12% of Native American deaths are alcohol related in some way. In addition to this, cigarette and tobacco abuse are other common problems.
Because of the insular nature of many reservations, federal authorities are often met with hostility when investigating. The vast majority of reservations are closed to outsiders, meaning that those who are not of Native American origin are not allowed inside, providing many hidden areas to produce illegal drugs. However, this is not to say that all Native Americans produce drugs; it is simply a byproduct of their desire for privacy that some individuals will take advantage of the culture.
Another reason the drugs, particularly methamphetamine, are growing so rapidly is due to the remote nature of so much of South Dakota’s landscape. Because there are hundreds of miles of uninhabited areas, those who cook meth can do so in privacy. It’s not likely they will be discovered with even a modicum of effort in hiding their operations. So much of the landscape is difficult to navigate and access that meth producers can do so in relative safety.
Although there is not a very vibrant nightlife in South Dakota, several of the clubs and bars throughout the state offer more drug abuse opportunities. In what few raves actually occur, MDMA is one of the major culprits. However, the number of raves has not increased in recent years, nor has the amount of MDMA/Ecstasy abuse. The demographic to which the drug appeals seems to remain stable.
A final potential cause of drug problems in South Dakota is due to gang activity. There are over 150 gangs in the state, the majority of which can be found in the prisons. Most of the gangs are related through racial ties, like the Ganger Desciples or the Surenos. One is an African American gang, the other is a Hispanic street gang. There are also sects of the Aryan Brotherhood, and a Native American gang known as the Red Brotherhood.
The Ganger Disciples are known for drug trafficking, obtaining their supply through allied gangs such as the Folk Nation, Crip, and Black Mafia Family. Originating in Chicago, the gang has established a presence in numerous other states as well as overseas, increasing the drug problem in South Dakota through their connections.
The Surenos are also known for drug trafficking, paying tribute to the Mexican Mafia. Also known for their relationships with the DTO, or Drug Trafficking Organizations, the Surenos are major suppliers of narcotics throughout at least 35 states.
What effort is being made to fight the drug problem?
The South Dakota branch of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, commonly known as D.A.R.E., has been highly active in schools in an attempt to curb the epidemic. Because the first instances of drug abuse typically begin in youth, officers monitor schools more closely than before, keeping watch for anyone smuggling illegal substances into the school as well on those students most likely to turn towards substances. In addition, counseling is being recommended for students coming from poor or negative home lives, in an attempt to give them an outlet other than drug use.
What influence has the drug issue had on the state?
South Dakota has seen an increase in high school drop outs among those who abuse substances, particularly marijuana. However, attributing this only to the drug is difficult to do because of the numerous factors involved. Many students who abuse substances also have other difficulties in their own lives, including abusive home situations and more. However, the use of substances only compounds these issues more, making it far more difficult for a student to remain focused and succeed in an educational setting.
Another problem that has arisen in conjunction with the drug problem is the crime rate. Because Interstate 90 has become such a major thoroughfare for drug traffickers, the amount of violent crime has risen slightly, as have the number of arrests made in more rural areas in relation to methamphetamine use. As the number of people who abuse drugs in the Pierre and Sioux Falls areas increase, so will the amount of crime associated with drugs in these regions.
Drunk driving is a major issue in and around Native American reservations, and the amount of deaths as a result is also high. As mentioned previously, these areas are largely unmonitored by police, meaning that no real punishment is given for those that break laws. The only areas that are monitored are those that have public thoroughfares, but these roads tend to be more dangerous than surrounding areas due to the drunk driving problems.
Drug Trends in South Dakota
Increasing amounts of pharmaceutical drugs are being abused throughout the state, partially because of the ease with which they can be obtained. Because these drugs are more readily available to a younger demographic, students combine pharmaceutical drugs with marijuana to get their high. In addition, methamphetamine use continues to rise across the state because of the reasons mentioned earlier: easy to make, in addition to a large supply.
It is likely that the drug problem is more widespread than authorities assume, given that most of the statistics are from those who have been arrested or checked themselves into rehab. Many recreational users of marijuana or other drugs do so without anyone else knowing. As marijuana continues to grow in popularity across the country, reaching legalization in various states, the instances of usage will grow. however, if the drug becomes regulated, it won’t be a problem.
South Dakota has four ‘main’ drugs that should be the main area of focus: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. However, legal substances such as cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and alcohol are much more widespread, prevalent threats, particularly among Native American reservations. Because of the ease of access for many of these drugs, the problem seems to be on the rise, rather than decreasing. However, several organizations are taking steps to cut the problem off at a young age, educating students and children about the dangers and consequences of drug use.
One of the reasons the problem is increasing is because of Interstate 90, a major drug highway into the state, as well as gang activity in the prisons and their supply connections. The amount of uninhabited land provides ample space to store, hide, and produce drugs to be distributed locally, and many marijuana growing operations are located in the major cities to supply users with higher grade substances.
Among adolescents, alcohol abuse is a major problem, starting as early as age 13. Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are growing problems. Many students have reported being offered drugs in and around the schools; another percentage of the adolescents with access to these substances live on Native American reservations, where drug laws are lax, and those that exist are hardly enforced.
Drunk driving is a major issue across many South Dakota highways, particularly those nearby Native American reservations. Due to the state’s high population but low number of police officers, it is difficult for widespread law enforcement to exist – certainly not enough to cover the states enormous land size.
However, with that said, violent crime relating to drug use is relatively low, although it is slowly increasing. The majority of reported crimes are arrests made for possession rather than distribution. South Dakota is still a relatively safe place to live despite the drug issues. Given that half the crimes relating to drug use were for legal substances – alcohol – and that marijuana is heading towards legalization itself, prospective residents do not need to worry about the instances of hard drugs.
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