The Need For Wyoming Drug Rehab
Wyoming is the home to over 500,000 people and is full of major rivers and mountains. Some of the few lakes that are the largest water ways are Lake Jackson and the Yellowstone Lake. This state has some parts that you can enjoy getting to see the real American West. Wyoming is known to be the state that the cowboy was first-born, and you will also find that the west remains the wild state.
The state of Wyoming has a high drug trafficking that comes from Colorado and is done by the Mexicans. This trafficking has increased the need for Wyoming drug rehab programs. Mexico and some of the Southwest states are also suppliers of marijuana, cocaine and meth in Wyoming. Methamphetamine is becoming the choice of drug throughout the state of Wyoming. Also growing in the state of Wyoming is MDMA which is known as the Club Drug. Heroin is not the most demanding drug in Wyoming compared to marijuana and cocaine.
Cocaine is available but only in small quantities and can only be found in certain areas of the state. The need for the drug has dropped in the last few years. Unlike Heroin and cocaine methamphetamine has become the main and one of the highest threats of drugs in Wyoming. While the arrest for meth use is on the increase the meth labs have begun to decrease. Within the state of Wyoming the use of methamphetamine causes a big problem for the police dept in the cities because it increases the domestic and violent crimes and also the child abuse.
Marijuana is also known to be a major abused drug in the state. Marijuana suppliers get most of the drug from Mexico but they also get it from Canada. However in the state of Wyoming you will find that marijuana is grown in secluded outdoor spots and also found growing inside.
Prescription Drug Consumption the Highest in the Hemisphere
The State of Wyoming sits poised to be right in line with what is a growing national epidemic: The illicit use of prescription drugs. In 2002 alone, there were more than six million people aged 12 or older reported to be using prescription drugs non-medically due to drug diversion. What this amounts to is the uncontrolled use of drugs that have been prescribed for others obtained through family, friends or the typically unsecured medicine cabinet. Does it make much sense to be securing the alcohol with lock and key while leaving these drugs easily accessible?
There is a Reason These Substances are Controlled
According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, Wyoming citizens reported for 2001 a 124 percent past year dependence on illicit drugs. There is a tendency for people to assume that these drugs purchased from a pharmacy, prescribed by a physician, are not as dangerous as illegal drugs when abused. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval has not endowed these substances with special powers. These are powerful drugs that are heavily controlled at every turn demanding the diligence of prescribers as well as dispensers, including physicians, assistants, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and prescribing psychologists.
There is Need to Improve the System
Unfortunately, the inherent problem stems from the fact that most practitioners do not receive adequate training when it comes to recognizing substance abuse in their patients. At best, there are maybe between 3 to 12 hours of in-depth substance use disorder training in medical residency programs. Of those in training, a little over half receive this education. Further, prescription drug abusers are clever at finding ways to have prescription drugs delivered intravenously by unsuspecting first responders. According to the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC), prescription drug sales per capita across the nation have quadrupled since 1999. There were enough prescription painkillers prescribed in the country in 2010 to have medicated every single American without cease for an entire month.
Unscrupulous drug seekers fake injuries and self-harm in pursuit of their need for the drugs. The degree to which this extends is an indication of how powerful these drugs are and the reason why they are controlled substances. Many of these people had no previous criminal history or history of illicit drug use. Some are even professionals in the field of medicine who know how to game the system. It is the kind of addiction that transcends all, regardless of intelligence or education, age, race or gender. In most cases, the path of drug seeking leads to the collapse of the family unit and for many, a prison sentence.
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed startling statistics in 2009. According to their findings, nearly one-third of the population aged 12 and over used a prescription drug non-medically for the first time; 70 percent of illicit prescription drug use came from drug diversion, and five percent of illicit drugs were obtained either from a drug dealer or the Internet. Further startling is the level of increase in prescribed opioid drugs. In just the ten years between 1997 and 2007, the per person milligram use of prescription opioid drugs went from 74 to 369 milligrams, a whopping 402 percent increase.
This is what has prompted the White House to issue the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan expanding upon the administration’s National Drug Control Strategy. With consideration for state and federal budgetary constraints, thought is given to the established necessity for these potent medications. Scientific research and development have made it possible to cure disease and save lives, ease acute pain and suffering and improve an individual’s quality of life. The areas of attention in cracking down on drug diversion focuses on the following:
- Doctor shopping;
- Pill mills;
- Illegal Internet pharmacies;
- Prescription forgery, and
- Pharmacy theft
The Drugs with a Likelihood of Abuse
The different diversion drugs include stimulants, which can cause heart attack or stroke; depressants, which cause pulmonary issues, collapsed veins, heart issues and liver disease, and opioid and hallucinogenic drugs that can cause paranoia and extremes of behavior ranging from violent outbursts to extreme depression. Some of the prescription drugs that are commonly abused are:
Wyoming Deaths Attributed to Drug Abuse
According to the CDC, drugs are responsible for more deaths in the United States than alcohol, despite the fact there are seven times more alcohol users than drug users. Nationally, the number of fatal poisonings due to prescription painkillers quadrupled since 1999. Wyoming ranks as the 15th highest in the nation for drug overdose mortality. According to vital statistics, the state of Wyoming has seen a spike in deaths due to accidental overdose. From 2004 to 2005, while there were only five deaths reported. In the following year, this jumped to 28. This trend continued in 2008 climbing to 45 followed by another spike in 2010 to 69. On the average, of those who died from prescription overdose, half were male with more than a high school level education. According to a new report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, for the population of Wyoming, the numbers work out to about 15 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities.
Reporting is Working
It is understood that there is no single agency, system or profession with which the entire responsibility sits for undertaking the efforts to control the use of prescription drugs. Despite the fact that state officials and the federal government have regulated the medical use of controlled substances for over 30 years, 43 states have now authorized prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). The state of Wyoming enacted their PDMP for schedule II, III, and IV drugs in 2003. The PDMP has enabled officials to spot issues by recognizing the signs of over prescribing. The program flags those exhibiting behaviors consistent with abuse or diversion.
From the PDMP data collected from 2004 to 2009, the prescription drugs that represent a higher likelihood of abuse showed that there were four million prescriptions filled, representing 477,515 unique Wyoming citizens. Of the most prescribed scheduled drugs were the opioid analgesics, representing over half of all prescriptions recorded in the PDMP for each year. This amounts to one-third of the entire Wyoming population for each of the five years recorded in the study filling at least one prescription for controlled substances.
Protecting the Innocent
In addition, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) has strict requirements on all the states to notify child protective services (CPS) agencies through the policies and procedures in place to report instances of substance-exposed newborns (SENs). In 11 states, it is considered child endangerment to expose any child to the manufacture, possession or distribution of illegal substances. In Wyoming, selling or giving any illegal drug to a child by any person is a felony.
Where Wyoming Stands with Respect to Illegal Drugs
The diversion of pharmaceuticals extends to the popular club drugs where a variety of semi-narcotic painkillers including hydromorphone, hydrocodone and oxycodones are freely used. These opioid compounds often substitute for heroin. The use of GHB, or the date rape drug and MDMA, or ecstasy, remain very popular club drugs. The trends follow the evolving methods that change as painkiller seekers obtain substitute substances when others become unavailable. It is this kind of environment that leads to the latest reports of prescription robberies. Cars are broken into, and surfing medicine cabinets is as easy as making the most of an open house leaving unsuspecting occupants to discover what is missing.
The Greatest Threat to the State
In contrast to the illicit use of prescription drugs, the greatest threat to Wyoming is the use of Methamphetamine. While there has been a decline in meth-lab seizures over the years, it is still domestically prepared and available in the state and available from California. The majority of meth comes to the state from Mexico. Wyoming law enforcement find meth use to be of the greatest concern due to the direct correlation to violent crime. Where there is meth, there is also a prevalence of domestic violence and, unfortunately, child abuse.
Methamphetamine gives local authorities more to contend with. Drug arrests were falling from 2001 through 2003. Then there was a 59 percent spike in arrests while meth lab seizures fell dramatically from 30 in 2001 to only nine in 2005. The recent inflated price of meth can be attributed to heightened controls on the cold medicine, pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient used in the manufacture of the drug. Mexico has always been a hotbed of meth production until restrictions on imports of the cold medicine to Mexico in 2005 was followed by completely cutting them off in 2009. This went hand-in-hand with controls imposed within the U.S., including a 2005 Wyoming statute that effectively restricted the sales and distribution of pseudoephedrine.
The Unavoidable Cancer from Within
The dominant drug trafficking organizations distributing methamphetamine in Wyoming are the Mexican gangs. These groups are pervasive existing on the streets throughout the United States. Their prison gangs operate as self-perpetuating criminal entities extending beyond the confines of the penal system. Further, these gangs establish local, neighborhood strongholds whose primary purpose is drug distribution and sales. They are particularly fierce in their dealings as they try to imitate the larger, more powerful national gangs.
There is no getting out from under their influence when it comes to drugs and criminal activity. They recruit in the areas where they exist further turning local inhabitants into members as their criminal enterprises continue to expand. Rival gangs either collaborate or clash, but either way, their power is greater than those outside of their control. Gangs are responsible for anywhere from 48 to 90 percent of violent crime in the jurisdictions they terrorize. They grow more sophisticated in their criminal networks as they are learning to be more adaptable and opportunistic, exploiting technology as a means of growing and perpetuating their criminal activity.
The threat posed by gangs is unrelenting. From the highest threat to the lowest they include:
- Larceny and theft
- Aggravated Assault
- Threats and Intimidation
- Motor vehicle theft
These criminal activities are routinely associated with gang-involved drug distribution and trafficking. It is particularly harmful to public safety and stability within the cities where they operate due to their lethal violence. Worse, their continued growth propagates expansion and further migration into communities that have yet to be infected by their poison. To these criminal gangs, the entire nation is up for grabs.
Nothing is sacred – not the neighborhoods, not the juveniles in school deserving a proper start in life but threatened out of it to join the gangs and not the souls who fall prey to the powerful allure of the drugs they are distributing. This is an old formula that always works: Get the people hooked and you have them until they die. The worst of it is how this gang influence is spreading to encompass all nationalities that continue to fracture the nature of diverse societies in this country that does so much better when sharing in the qualities that make traditions something to celebrate.
Marijuana Leads All
By far, the most prevalent illicit substance in the country is marijuana. The primary provider is none other than Mexico with other states and local producers making it available, especially as the laws are starting to change. In Wyoming, marijuana is considered the second largest threat in the state. Of high school students, at least 41 percent report having used marijuana once in their life. Wyoming Highway Patrol is not mincing words. There is no easing up on the laws just because of a shared border with Colorado. Any persons caught with any live plants or dried pot will be held accountable to existing state laws.
Cocaine, Heroin Looming
On the other hand, cocaine use has seen a steady decline in the state despite prices remaining consistent. Crack cocaine remains available in low quantities around Cheyenne and Laramie. However, where the rest of the nation is seeing a rise in heroin use, it does not pose a significant threat in Wyoming. It is not nearly as big a problem to law enforcement in Wyoming as it is for the rest of the country. Any heroin obtained in the state is strictly Mexican black tar heroin.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Indisputably, drug addiction tears at the heart of what holds this nation together. The saddest of all is how children suffer, either unwittingly or by choice in just wanting to be cool or escape the struggles of adolescence. Regardless of the market, there will always be a criminal element supplying it without the slightest regard for the health or well-being of its victims. It is so terribly sad to see where this nation has gone from friendly neighborhoods that sourced childhood as an adventure of wholesome growth and development; where doors were always left unlocked and neighbors knew each other.
The Power is Great and so is the Damage
The cost to this country’s health care, worker productivity, incarceration, crime and drug enforcement for the effects of drug addiction exceed the hundreds of billions of dollars. As quickly as the state officials and federal government work to implement strategies that will keep the people safe while preserving their right to valuable medications, the power of addiction finds new angles to circumvent the restrictions. The readily available drugs used to replace or substitute where regulations make access difficult are ever developing and flooding the streets. With more synthetic chemicals being used, the horrors to the body continue to destroy from within.
It Takes All of Us
While all of this seems insurmountable, it is not impossible to overcome, by any means. Anyone who has managed to make it through addiction, whether through the enforcement of the laws in prison or by choice through successful programs such as cognitive behavioral modification, they are grateful to have come through it. One thing they all have in common is a humility and a desire to reach out and help others who are struggling themselves. As mentioned, there is no one agency or authority that can fix this: It is going to take everyone’s commitment to wanting a better life.
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