The True Use of Drug Abuse Statistics

Drug abuse statistics truly are very useful when it comes to determining how big an effect the use of narcotics or scheduled medications are having on our modern day society but are they a true reflection of the epidemic which is spiraling out of control in our modern day society.

Do these drug addiction statistics actually represent to true proportion which they should as to the effect which drug addiction and abuse is having on the world’s population? I think not and the reason why I say this is that to accurately measure the number of people abusing drugs, we need not only to look at the abuse of street drugs, but scheduled medications as well.

There are far to many variables which are unaccounted for when it comes to gathering drug abuse statistics and it is for this reason that I would like to propose that when we look at these statistics, we are in reality only seeing the tip of the iceberg and not the true reality of the problem.

Yes, there will be those who say that things can be worked out according to averages, but in the case of drug abuse statistics, I personally believe that this is definitely not the case. We need to realize that every section of our community is being affected by this kind of abuse and there is nothing average about it.

I personally think it is a good thing to try to keep record of drug abuse statistics, but at the same time believe that if a significant portion of the time, energy, money and effort which is used to acquire these stats was put into actually addressing this epidemic, far more lives would be saved than by simply recording its effects which if we open our eyes we see is spiraling out of control.

I personally have been down the road to addiction and know that to return from the place it leads you to is no easy task. We need to spend a bit more time and energy on focusing on the cause of this problem and perhaps a little less time simply collecting the information pertaining to the effect which it is having on society as a whole.

Somewhere something has gone terribly wrong and it is our responsibility to prevent it from getting worse and worse. We need to begin to take action against this epidemic which is robbing so many families the world over of their loved ones and quality of life. In my eyes, this is far more important than simply keeping records of the effects which drug abuse is having on the earth’s population.

Drug Abuse Statistics in Austin

Austin Drug Abuse
Travis County, home to the city of Austin, experienced over 2,500 people being admitted for substance abuse treatment in 2002. Of those admitted, the nearly half were admitted for alcohol abuse, and the other half was admitted for other types of drugs. For every drug except those classified as “downers” and “other opiates” males dominated the population. Interestingly enough, more than 75% of patients were not married and had were not employed.

Substance-Related Arrests
While most of the residents in Austin do not abuse drugs, there are still a large number of people who do abuse them, as shown above. However, the statistics above only include those admitted for treatment and does not fully paint the picture of drug abuse in Austin. Taking a look at the number of substance-related arrests, for example, one can see another side of the drug world. In 2004, there were 3,681 drug possession arrests and 412 drug trafficking arrests. This includes all illegal hard drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and club drugs (ecstasy).

Heroin Abuse
Unfortunately, heroin is common on the streets on Austin. In 2002, for instance, the number of people admitted for marijuana abuse was only 2/3 that of the number of people admitted for heroin. The May 2007 edition of the Drug Policy Information Clearinghouse released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy stated about heroin:

In Austin, shooting galleries in the Montopolis area are reported to have disappeared as long-term users have either died, are in prison or have moved out of the area to avoid harassment from the police. Despite this, heroin is plentiful in the Montopolis area and three to four balloons of good quality heroin sell for $25 or less. Additional intelligence indicates that both black tar and Mexican brown heroin sell for $1,400­ $1,600/ounce in Austin.

While heroin is mostly injected into the body through needles, in the past year there has been an increase in the amount of heroin that is being snorted in powder form. The younger demographic is the cause of the snorting because they think they will not become addicted, but this a false belief and they eventually end up abusing the drug.

The American Heartland’s Declining Drug Abuse

Iowa with its rolling hills of fertile black dirt producing acre after acre of prairie grass, corn and a host of other products consumed by the rest of America has something to be proud these days. Regrettably these same farmlands were a hotbed of clandestine meth lab activity just a few years ago. Now, Iowa, The American Heartland, has something to be proud of when it comes to drug abuse statistics.

Iowa has long been known for its struggles with methamphetamine. In 2005 methamphetamine abuse and addiction were running rampant with wild abandon. Meth lab incidents reached staggering amounts totaling 1437 that year but things have since changed dramatically. Since the enactment of the Federal Combating Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) and similar state laws to control the sale of pseudoephedrine (PSE) went into action meth lab incidents in Iowa plummeted to just 181 in 2007. 181 meth labs are still far too many but you have to admit the impressive improvement.

Obviously very creative drug abusers, dealers and meth “cooks” will find new ways of obtaining the key ingredient and in 2007 a new method called “smurfing” came into play. As a result from 2007-2009 meth lab incidents jumped 48%. Still yet Iowa’s meth related incidents remain relatively low in comparison to just a few years ago. Nationwide meth lab incidents increased 76% during that same two-year period.

Overall Iowa’s decreasing drug abuse statistics stand out from the rest of the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 8.02 % of American citizens abused an illicit drug in the past 30 days. This same report indicates just 4.08% of Iowa residents participated in past month drug abuse. Abuse of illicit drugs other than marijuana is also lower in Iowa as 1.81% of Iowa citizens are reported to have participated compared to the national average of 3.58%.

Prescription drug addiction is a major concern in the United States. To help combat the problem the Iowa Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP) went into effect in 2009. The new system enables physicians and pharmacists to access vital information concerning patient’s abuse and drug diversion of these controlled substances.

Iowa still has others areas of concern with marijuana being most widely abused drug and accounting for 7273 (26%) of the overall treatment admissions in 2009. Still yet these numbers compared to other states and the rest of the country as a whole are something to be proud of.