For a state with such a comparatively small population, it seems as if Idaho has more than its share of problems with substance abuse. Thousands of Idahoans face the challenges of drug addiction or alcoholism every day.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of sufferers never get help for their drinking or drug problems.
Substance Abuse Statistics for the State of Idaho
Like every other state in the country, Idaho has felt the impact of substance abuse academic –
- 2009-2013, 5% of Idahoans age 12 or older abuse or are dependent upon alcohol – approximately 96,000 individuals
- During this same time period, 9 % – 73,000 Idaho adults reported drinking heavily within the previous month
- 2009-2013, 5% of Idahoans age 12 or older abuse or are dependent upon illicit drugs – approximately 32,000 individuals
- In 2009, 4246 people were in substance abuse treatment on any given day in Idaho, but by 2013, that number had skyrocketed to 6619 – an increase of 56%
- Of that 2013 number, 3% were admitted for alcohol use only, 20% were in treatment for drug abuse only, and 60.6% were there for both drug and alcohol use
- 2009-2013, over 93% of Idahoans with an alcohol abuse disorder DID NOT receive treatment
- During the same time period, 4% of Idahoans with a drug abuse disorder DID NOT receive treatment
- Idaho ranks fourth in the country for the non-medical use of prescription opioid painkillers
- The rate of drug overdose fatalities in Idaho is double what it was in 1999
- An Idaho resident dies of a prescription drug overdose every 45 hours
- Since 2009, marijuana trafficking charges in the state of Idaho have approximately tripled
- population of Idaho
By the Numbers: Idaho Addiction Stats
On any given day in the State of Idaho, there are:
- 122,550 alcohol-dependent persons
- 70,768 marijuana users
- 30,990 individuals who abuse prescription medications
- 11,596 cocaine addicts
- 5263 people of using hallucinogens
- 2956 individuals abusing inhalants
- 656 people addicted to heroin
- These individuals will account for 8933 arrests for drug-related charges, including 6773 DUIs
- Throughout the year, there will be approximately 410 deaths due to alcohol abuse, 82 deaths due to the abuse of illicit drugs, and 80 deaths due to drunk driving
The Dubious Champion in Idaho: Most Common Addictive Substance
Looking at the sheer numbers, it is obvious that Idaho’s biggest substance abuse problem is an addiction to alcohol. There are approximately as many alcohol-dependent people in Idaho as all other addictive substances combined.
That falls right into line with what experts around the world are saying. A 2010 study published in the Lancet suggested that alcohol was the most harmful drug in Britain – far more dangerous to the individual and society than heroin crack, or methamphetamines.
Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse or Alcoholism
Because drinking – even regular, heavy drinking – is so common, even accepted in American society, it can be difficult to know when alcohol consumption becomes a problem. Some common signs of alcohol dependence or addiction include:
- drinking more – both in frequency and amount – than intended
- losing track of time – “blacking out“
- engaging in dangerous activities while drinking – driving, operating machinery, mixing alcohol with prescription medication
- neglecting responsibilities at school, home, or work because of drinking
- drinking in secret or hiding the frequency and the amount that you drink from loved ones
- neglecting other obligations to pay for alcohol
- spending an inordinate amount of time preoccupied with or acquiring alcohol
- experiencing legal consequences because of drinking – DUIs, arrests, etc.
- expressions of concern or worry about your drinking from loved ones
- irritability, anxiety, or depression when unable to drink
- unable to feel “normal” without the effects of alcohol
- using alcohol as a means to cope with stress or problems
- continuing to drink even when alcohol is negatively affecting other areas of your life – relationships, school, job, etc.
- needing to drink more and more to achieve the same effect – “tolerance”
- unsuccessful attempts to cut back or stop drinking
What to Do When a Drinking Problem Exists
Addiction is a lonely disease, and it is easy to get caught up in feelings of guilt, shame, and unworthiness.
The first thing to remember is that you are not alone – over 100,000 Idahoans share your disease, so you can draw the strength and inspiration you need from other successfully-recovering alcoholics.
The second thing to remember is that you can’t do it alone – addiction, in the form of alcoholism, is an insidious disease that hijacks your brain’s ability to control your alcohol consumption. It is not a moral failing of yours that you can overcome simply by the strength of your will – it is a brain disease that requires professional help.
Just as with other chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure, recovering from alcoholism will require medical supervision and guidance, a positive environment, healthy lifestyle changes, and a strong support system.
If you are powerless over your own drinking and your life has become unmanageable as a result, help does exist if you are ready to ask for it.