“Spokane hasn’t caught up to where we’re going to be. This is something that we’re going to be combating for time to come.”
~ Spokane Police Capt. Eric Olsen, speaking about potential drug threats to the area at a March 2016 meeting of the city’s Public Safety Committee
There’s good news and there’s bad news for residents of Spokane, the second-largest city in Washington State, when it comes to the issue of drug and alcohol abuse in the area.
The good news is that overall, Spokane’s statistics involving drug abuse and overdoses have so far not reached the levels experienced in other areas of the country, particularly the East and Midwest.
The bad news is that in the city, the county, and across Washington State, there are still significant areas of concern regarding the issue of illicit and prescription drug abuse.
Addiction Statistics for Spokane, Washington
The illicit drug market in the Spokane area is fluid and cyclical – at the turn of the century, Spokane’s biggest problem was methamphetamines, but today, meth is being rivaled by heroin as the area’s most dangerous illegal drug threat.
- More than 12% of deaths in Spokane County involve alcohol- or drug-related causes in some way.
- In 2005, that number was less than 9%.
- Since 2013, the number of accidental drug overdose deaths in Spokane County has risen by more than 60%.
- Within the past month 8% of Spokane adults have engaged in binge-drinking.
- Nearly one-third of traffic fatalities in Spokane County are alcohol-related.
- Between 2010 and 2014, the number of people in Washington who died of heroin overdoses more than tripled, surpassing methadone and oxycodone as the drugs most frequently involved in fatal overdoses.
- That data is mirrored in Spokane County – in the one-year period between 2014 in 2015, heroin-involved deaths in the county also more than tripled.
- In Spokane, methamphetamines are still responsible for more deaths than heroin.
- Between 1999 and 2008, the number of people in Spokane County who died from accidental prescription drug overdoses skyrocketed TWENTYFOLD.
- When broken down by substance, the most common drugs listed as the cause of death are:
- Methamphetamines – 29 deaths
- Heroin – 22 deaths
- Benzodiazepines – 16 deaths
- Morphine – 14 deaths
- Hydrocodone – 11 deaths
- Oxycodone – 10 deaths
- Methadone – 8 deaths
- Codeine – 8 deaths
- Statewide, more than half of 2014 opioid overdoses involved multiple drugs.
- Approximately 1 out of every 5 fatal opioid overdoses also involve meth.
- When listed by substance, rehab admittances in Spokane breakdown as follows:
- Alcohol – 30.2%
- Marijuana – 21.9%
- Methamphetamines – 18.3%
- Heroin – 13.4%
- Other opioids/synthetics – 11.5%
- Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of publicly-funded drug treatment admissions involving opioids in Spokane County rose by over 188%.
- In 2015, more money was spent on marijuana in Spokane County than wine, bread, or milk.
Why is it So Important to Know Drug Abuse Statistics in Spokane, Washington?
The old saying “Know Thy Enemy” takes on even greater importance when trying to combat the epidemic of substance abuse as it affects Washington State as a whole and the local Spokane community in particular.
Knowing what substances are out there and are being misused most often can help you stay more vigilant and aware as you try to protect your loved ones from the hazards of drug abuse and the disease of addiction.
Telltale Signs of Substance Abuse to Watch For
Regular substance abuse – whether in the form of alcoholism or drug misuse – can cause mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral changes in the user. A concerned family member can learn how to spot these changes and when necessary, proactively take steps to intervene and get their loved one the support and treatment they need before the disease of addiction progresses to the next level and spirals out of control.
- Mood swings or changes in personality
- Confusion or incoherence
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Poor personal hygiene or grooming
- Increased secrecy– hiding cell phone calls or text messages, spending long periods of time alone
- Self-isolation – disregard of family gatherings and obligations, withdrawal from friends and social activities
- Disinterest in formally-enjoyed hobbies or activities
- Poor performance at work or school– absenteeism, disciplinary actions, etc.
- Odd sleeping patterns– either sleeping all the time or awake all the time
- Missing money or items of value
- Drug paraphernalia – pipes, lighters, syringes, prescription bottles
If you believe that someone you care about has a problem with drugs and alcohol, then you owe it to them, yourself, your family, and your future to get them professional help. Substance abuse is an insidious and progressive disease that will only get worse without intervention.
Northpoint Recovery is the most-trusted name in alcohol and drug rehab in the Inland Northwest. Located conveniently in Boise, Northpoint offers a nationally-recognized Evidence-Based Treatment program to residents of Idaho and Washington who are struggling with any type of addiction.