Shafter is a lovely and pleasant city in Kern County, in the state of California, in the United States of America. It is located no less than 18 miles west and northwest of the bigger city of Bakersfield, California.  The population was 16,988 at the 2010 census, as reported by the United States Census Bureau, up from 12,736 at the initial 2000 census.  The city is located along State Route 43. Suburbs of Shafter include Myricks Corner, North Shafter, Smith’s Corner, and Thomas Lane too.  The city is very pleasant and suburban with a growing economy and a growing population too.

Historically speaking, much of Shafter’s economy has been based on agriculture and ag-related industry and development just to name a few. Local crops include things like almonds, pistachios, cotton, grapes and alfalfa as well as some carrots, potatoes and other vegetables. Cotton and potatoes have a special historical significance for the town of Shafter as leading industries in different periods of the town’s development too, and these two crops are brought up a lot in the history of the city.

More recently Shafter has become a hub for a variety of economic endeavors including things like manufacturing, logistics, and energy.  The wealth of the city has grown quite a bit for these reasons and others too.

Drug Abuse in Shafter

In suburban America, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction has reigned as a seriously growing and increasing problem to say the least.  These are issues that have been steadily and continuously increasing no matter what anyone tries to do about them.  These are very serious problems to say the least and they would seem to only be getting much worse, not any better.  In fact, the issue in Shafter and towns like it has been one of drugs and alcohol never really being there prior to the turn of the century, but now having drugs and alcohol abuse being a major issue there indeed.

Shafter has really been struggling when it comes to the children and young adults of this city abusing drugs and alcohol.  Among Shafter children who admitted that they had abused prescription medications, one in five, (20 percent of them) has done so before the shocking age of 14.  More than a quarter of teens, (27 percent to be exact) mistakenly believe that misusing and abusing prescription drugs is safer than using street drugs, when the truth is that they are in a lot of ways even more dangerous.  Many teens and their parents incorrectly believe that the abuse of prescription medications is a safe and non-addicting alternative to “street” drugs, when the truth is that more teens actually die from abusing prescription drugs than those who die from abusing street drugs.

What to Do to Solve the Problem

Drug and alcohol abuse makes pretty significant changes and bad effects on those who abuse drugs and alcohol in and around Shafter.  This city is a major working-class town, and the fact that drug and alcohol abuse has become so common here really has had a bad effect on the working class of the city.  For some facts and statistics on it:

• One of the biggest changes in workplace drug use in Shafter is the switch to prescription drugs.  This has been huge.  A 2008 report made by Quest Diagnostic found that more workers are now testing positive for prescription drugs than cocaine and methamphetamine combined.  This is true in Shafter and it is true in many other areas.

• Semi-tractor trailer truck drivers, (of which there are many in Shafter), test positive for drugs far more often than what would be liked.  A similar 2007 study conducted in Oregon by the state police found that nearly ten percent of randomly selected truck drivers tested positive for drugs, with both marijuana and methamphetamine rates higher than in similar checks in the year of 1998.  This problem has trickled down south pretty intensively, unfortunately enough.

• Sales people in Shafter and other non-professional drivers operating a company car also put their employers and the public at risk while driving with drugs in their system.  This too is a big issue in Shafter and has been across the state too for some time now. A November 30, 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration federal report showed that no less than 18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for illicit drugs, which ranked in at an increase from the year 2005 to the year 2009.

• A self-reported study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that no less than 35.4% of drivers of the age of 21-25 admitted to driving while abusing more than one mind-impairing drug.

• A Northwestern University study of 200 Chicago area traffic crashes found that 54% of non-professional drivers were poly-drug users and none of the cases were detected by police investigating the crash.  This problem repeats itself out in Shafter.

It will take a lot of work to beat drug and alcohol addiction and to beat it for good, but it must be done, and it must be done sooner rather than later.  This is a big issue to say the least, but with proper rehabilitation and especially with proper rehabilitation of those who work and drive in Shafter, this problem can finally become something of the past.

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