Salt Lake City is the capital, most populated and most well-known city in Utah. It’s home to more than a million people. Surprisingly, Salt Lake City has higher crime than most cities in America, but that may make sense considering the drug abuse problems in the city.
In April 2013, Salt Lake City Justice Court Judge Virginia Bauskett Ward was arrested as part of a drug distribution investigation. It’s an unusual story that indicates the unusual drug problems plaguing Salt Lake City, as well as Utah as a whole. In 2010, six percent of Utah residents reported taking illicit drugs, but stimulants like methamphetamine were a statistically more common cause for patients being admitted to drug abuse treatment facilities.
The Drug Addiction Problem in Salt Lake City, Utah
In 2012, an average of 23 Utah citizens died each month due to prescription opioid abuse, with the number of deaths due to prescription pain medications rising 400 percent since 2000. More people die each year in Utah from drug abuse than automotive accidents or firearms.
Judge Ward was arrested after receiving a shipment of 338 oxycodone pills, with suspicion of distributing the pills to others. It might not seem like a lot, but those prescription pills can cost upwards of $80 a pill and are highly addictive. Oxycodone, or OxyContin, is a powerful painkiller and a gateway drug to heroin. Oxycodone has similar effects to heroin, but heroin is much cheaper to buy on the streets. With Salt Lake City’s higher-than-average amount of prescription pill abuse, both the city and the state as a whole must deal with a growing heroin problem as well.
Since 2008, the demand for Mexican black tar heroin has risen among teens and young adults who are transitioning from the more expensive prescription medications to the cheaper heroin. Mexican drug cartels have started to move in on the state, using public lands and roads to traffic the heroin, along with other drugs, including marijuana.
Salt Lake City Drug Rehab & Treatment
Regardless of the drug issues, Salt Lake City isn’t a lost cause. There are many successful rehab centers and programs, and campaigns aimed at keeping youths from trying drugs and getting drugs off the streets. One such program is National Take-Back Day, where people return their unused prescription pills to state law enforcement officers. This program has helped keep excess drugs off the black market and has helped raise awareness of the problem.
Furthermore, Salt Lake City has a number of treatment facilities that can provide help in several ways. They are called Local Substance Abuse Authorities (LSAA) and work on a sliding scale of treatment where patients pay what they can afford for help rather than turning away addicts who can’t pay. LSAA provide inpatient services, outpatient services and resources for family members. They allow any patient, family member or associate to call in and get advice on how to help an addict.
Salt Lake City’s drug abuse issues have the potential to kill. The proliferation of drugs in the city have the potential to raise crime rates. The arrest of Judge Virginia Ward and the rise of prescription painkiller abuse in Salt Lake City paints a negative picture of the city’s substance abuse problem. But there are programs and campaigns being implemented in the area to provide hope to and restore the safety of area residents.
If you or someone you know needs drug or alcohol rehab in Salt Lake City, Utah, call RehabHotline.org today at 877-420-2948. We can help you find a program that’s right for you or your loved one.