Combating the Drug Problem in Utah With Rehabilitation Programs

Utah shares its eastern border with Colorado. Recently, Colorado made buying small amounts of marijuana legal, but Utah isn’t expected to follow suit any time soon. However, the decision to allow more drug users in Colorado will have a negative effect on Utah because of that shared border. Utah officials are expecting a rise in major drug and cash busts to occur on Interstates 70 and 80 traveling between the two states, and are beefing up their traffic presence accordingly. Colorado legislators may feel they’re solving a problem with their new drug law, but they may not have realized the effect it has on the surrounding states.

Marijuana is increasingly seen as harmless, but that’s not totally true. As of 2010’s White House Update on Utah’s drug control, marijuana was the second most commonly cited drug for substance abuse treatment admissions in the state. THC has proven and documented harmful effects on memory and coordination.

A lesser-known issue in Utah is the widespread use of public lands by Mexican drug cartels to cultivate marijuana inside Utah’s borders. Mexican cartels also traffic drugs like heroin from Utah to other points around the United States.

Drug Addiction and Abuse in Utah

Utah’s drug issues don’t begin and end with marijuana. It’s good to know what issues will be exacerbated by Colorado’s new drug law, but marijuana isn’t Utah’s biggest problem. Six percent of Utah’s inhabitants report taking illicit drugs, and stimulants like methamphetamines and prescription pills are the most commonly abused drugs in Utah. These stimulants are known to be a true gateway to cheaper alternatives like heroin and are contributing to a dangerous drug culture in Utah.

In all, Utah’s rate of deaths directly caused by drugs in 2007 was nearly twice as high as the national rate. Utah was one of a handful of states that had more deaths caused by drugs (546) than by auto accidents (320) and firearms (253).

Utah Drug Rehab and Treatment

These are grim statistics, but there are promising stories coming out of Utah regarding drug abuse treatment. Overall, according to the SHARP statewide survey, most middle and high school drug use statistics have been trending downward over the past four years. The Division of Substance Abuse from the Utah Department of Human Services has a number of programs designed to help at-risk youths and keep drug use down.

Further efforts to combat drug abuse in Utah include a program to track all prescriptions being filled to make sure patients aren’t doctor-hopping to get more drugs than is safe, as well as a drug take-back program that focuses on getting unused or unnecessary drugs returned and destroyed and away from the black market. Educating youth is key, and Utah runs educational PSAs, directed at different age groups, about refusing illicit drugs.

For substance abuse, Utah has a number of treatment facilities including local in- and outpatient centers. These are referred to as Local Substance Abuse Authorities (LSAA). The services are offered on a sliding scale so cost isn’t an issue to addicts that need help recovering. Any family member or concerned party can schedule a visit with the LSAA to come up with a plan for helping the addict.

Utah has drug issues affecting its residents, but it also has effective programs to help drug addicts and prevent drug use. If you or someone you know needs drug or alcohol rehab in Utah, call RehabHotline.org today at 877-420-2948 to learn about your options.

Sources:

WhiteHouse.gov – Utah Drug Control Update – http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/state_profile_-_utah.pdf

DrugAbuse.gov – Marijuana Abuse – http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-abuse/how-does-marijuana-use-affect-your-brain-body

DeseretNews.com – Utah Authorities on Alert – http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865593353/Utah-authorities-on-alert-as-Colorado-prepares-to-open-retail-marijuana-stores.html?pg=all

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