Alcohol and Drug Addiction in Wyoming
The past few decades have seen a rise in the rates of substance abuse and addiction in states like Wyoming. The sad thing about this trend is that most of the deaths that are linked to drugs and alcohol are preventable.
Addiction Rates in Wyoming
Although Wyoming has the smallest state population in the country, the substance abuse epidemic has also hit particularly hard here. Reports have shown that the rates of alcohol abuse – particularly binge drinking – are ranked highly in this state. In fact, Wyoming’s heavy alcohol abuse is at a level that is higher than the total national average.
At the same time, the use of illicit drugs in this state is at par with similar national averages. This is even though the abuse of heroin was only reported much later in this state than in other parts of the United States. The only good news is that the rates of illicit drug abuse have consistently remained flat in the state.
Like in many other states, however, the use of heroin in Wyoming often starts when someone abuses strong prescription pain relief medications. Studies have pointed out that many chronic pain and post-surgical patients eventually become addicted to the medications that their doctors prescribed for their conditions – particularly hydrocodone and oxycodone.
At some point, their prescriptions often run out and it becomes increasingly difficult and expensive for them to continue abusing pain relief opioids to offset any withdrawal symptoms that they might have started experiencing.
When this happens, the great majority of these new addicts will turn to illicit substances like heroin to replace the prescriptions that they were abusing. In many cases, the drug of choice is heroin because it is relatively expensive and readily available in the state.
Addiction Treatment in Wyoming
The rates of prescription drug abuse in the state are so worrying that officials have formed the RAS – Rx Abuse Stakeholders – a group comprised of officials and experts from different fields. The group works to adequately track, control, and prevent the abuse of drugs in Wyoming.
Additionally, there are several facilities that provide addiction treatment and recovery services in Wyoming. However, the state has a small population, meaning that many addiction recovery programs have a difficult time finding enough patients. Even so, the RAS has been trying to bridge the widening gap between addicted people and quality treatment programs in Wyoming.