Drug Abuse Trends in Des Moines, IA
Des Moines is the capital of Iowa as well as its most populous city with 217,521 residents. The city is home to many major insurance providers, financial institutions, and tech companies. This has led to a steadily growing population for the past two decades. The city’s population has increased by 36.8% – significantly higher than the U.S. rate of 24.1%. In 2017, the rate of illicit drug use in Iowa was second-lowest in the nation. However, substance abuse issues have increased in the Des Moines area and, in 2018, was recognized as one of 25 cities where crime has drastically increased.
Among those in substance abuse treatment, the most common admissions are for addictions are (in order of occurrence):
At one point, almost 90% of admissions to rehab facilities in Iowa were for primary alcohol use disorders. By 2014, it was still the most common addiction (50%). Yet, the negative consequences of alcohol abuse on society continue to increase. Data for 2010 (the most recent available) show that in Des Moines’s Polk County, one in five adults binge drink. Between 2012 and 2016, the average blood alcohol content for impaired drivers was more than twice the legal limit. Drunk drivers were also responsible for 38% of all traffic fatalities in 2015, up from 31% in 2012. Alcohol abuse is also a major contributor to a number of crimes in the city (such as domestic violence and assault).
Meth Abuse in Des Moines
Though opioids are one of the fastest growing substances of abuse in the nation and Iowa, meth abuse is still a major problem for the Hawkeye State. Of rehab admissions, 20% are for primary meth addictions (a total of over 9,000 Iowans). According to substance abuse treatment providers in Iowa, most people with meth addictions abuse multiple types of drugs. Furthermore, they typically suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders made worse by drug abuse.
Substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders are brothers and sisters. Mental health disorders get much more complicated when one becomes addicted.
One reason opioid deaths continue to outnumber overdose deaths involving meth (despite high rates of meth abuse), is that the damaging effects of meth on the body are much slower than opioids. After a long period of use, people may develop loss of appetite, tremors, “meth mouth,” skins sores, insomnia, paranoia, and hallucinations. While using meth, people are also more likely to become aggressive or agitated. Accordingly, meth use is linked to many violent and burglary crimes in Iowa. Meth is, by far, the most cited illicit drug in drug-related prison admissions in the state.
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Substance Abuse Statistics for Des Moines
patients per year
Polk County deputies transfer approximately 900 patients to court-ordered addiction treatment each year.
In 2015, 1,713 people were charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Polk County.
Deputies transfer 3 times as many patients to addiction treatment as they did 15 years ago.
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Addiction Treatment in Des Moines
With recent increases in opioid-related hospitalizations, growing numbers of meth addictions, and continually increasing rates of alcohol abuse consequences, drug and alcohol rehabs in Iowa are reaching capacity. At some inpatient rehabs in Des Moines, waitlists are over a month long. Moreover, a majority of addiction treatment admissions are referred by the county’s criminal justice system.
For some, traveling for rehab is the best course of action. When a person has decided to enter rehab, it is important that they enter treatment as soon as possible. Broadening your options by looking at out-of-state addiction treatment centers can open up rehab possibilities. You will also have a wider range of therapy options, including access to medication-assisted treatment (like buprenorphine or methadone).