North Dakota is primarily rural with few densely populated areas. While most people associate illicit drug use with heavily populated urban settings, rural areas nationwide have reported notable increases in drug abuse, admissions to substance abuse treatment programs, and overdose deaths.
This has been the case for North Dakota, especially for the past decade or so. There are several unique risk factors at play in North Dakota that lead many citizens into addiction and substance abuse. North Dakota is battling rising prescription opioid abuse rates as well as a widespread methamphetamine problem.
Substance abuse is a nationwide problem, and every state has different factors and unique substance abuse issues. Despite being one of the least populated states in the country, North Dakota has significant problems with substance abuse, particularly with methamphetamine and opioids, primarily prescription opioids.
Prescription opioids are responsible for more overdose deaths than any other drug, and this could be partially due to a lack of awareness about the inherent dangers of these drugs. Many patients become addicted because they take more than prescribed, or take them for longer than necessary.
Additionally, many people in North Dakota falsely assume that since a medication was prescribed by a doctor, it is inherently safe. Lawmakers at all levels have pushed various measures to encourage doctors to be more discerning in their prescribing practices and fully warn patients of the inherent risks of addiction to prescription opioid painkillers.
Many heroin users in North Dakota were once prescription opioid users. Unfortunately, prescription opioids are a consistent gateway to heroin abuse. Once a person has developed an addiction to prescription opioids, they will often attempt to secure as many refills as possible to sustain the addiction.
Over the past decade, drug overdoses have eclipsed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Although North Dakota's relatively low population means the increase in substance abuse in the state is comparatively insignificant to that of other states, the drug overdose rate in North Dakota climbed a staggering 36.5% between 2014 and 2015.
In 2017, North Dakota providers wrote 41.5 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions (per the CDC). This represents a 34 percent decrease from a peak of 63.0 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons in 2010.
As a direct consequence of drug use, 28 persons died in North Dakota in 2009. This is compared to the number of persons in North Dakota who died from motor vehicle accidents (131) and firearms (59) in the same year. North Dakota drug-induced deaths (4.3 per 100,000 residents) were less than half the national rate (12.8 per 100,000 residents).
In the year 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. - an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 per 100,000 persons. Among these, 47,600 involved opioids. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.
There have been no significant changes in the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in North Dakota. In 2017, there were 9.2 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 persons. While the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, overdose deaths involving opioids are not included for the state because the data reported did not meet inclusion criteria.
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy.The most recent data on the rate of babies born with NAS/NOWS in North Dakota is from 2014 and is based on state inpatient databases.
From 2011 to 2014, the rate of NAS/NOWS increased from 1.7 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 4.8 cases per 1,000 hospital births (per the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project).
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 46 occurred in North Dakota. Among males, 14.3 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid and prescription opioid abuse. Among females, 22.2 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse.
In 2015, an estimated 334 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in North Dakota—a rate of 53 cases per 100,000 residents. Of those, 18.6 percent of male cases were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 14.1 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid abuse.
There was approximately 1 new case of acute HCV (0.1 per 100,000 persons) reported in North Dakota in 2016 (per the CDC). In North Dakota, there are an estimated 2,600 persons living with Hepatitis C (per the 2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 460 cases per 100,000 persons.
Fortunately, there are numerous centers of treatment and rehab available in North Dakota. There are many types of treatment centers such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a wide range of drug and alcohol rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you need rehab in North Dakota, all you need to do is place a call to any of the available rehab centers.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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