Drug Abuse Trends in Spokane, Washington
Located to the west of the Rocky Mountains in East Washington is the metro area of Spokane. With a population of 208,916, it is the second-largest city in the state (behind Seattle). While Washington has cultivated a culture of healthy, outdoorsy lifestyles, a growing percentage of its population suffers from substance use disorders. For instance, between 2014 and 2015, Washington was one of a handful of states (and the only one in the West) to see a significant increase in overdose deaths. Each year, more than a thousand people die of accidental overdose in the Evergreen State. In Spokane County specifically, 115 residents died of an accidental overdose in 2016 – up from 82 the year before. For years, prescription and synthetic opioids were the most common cause of overdose death in Spokane. However, rates of substance abuse for alcohol and methamphetamines remain high in the city.
Thanks to aggressive opioid-awareness campaigns by multiple Washington health organizations, increased availability of anti-overdose medications, and the establishment of prescription drug monitoring programs, fatalities have declined. Between 2016 and 2017, Spokane County saw a drop in accidental overdoses by 34%. Still, a rise in heroin and meth abuse have prevented the number of emergency responses to overdoses from declining. Increased use of opioid overdose-reversing drugs like Narcan have helped 95.5% of Spokane overdose patients to survive emergency calls.
Meth Addiction and Poly-Drug Use in Spokane
Starting in the 1990s, meth abuse spread across much of rural America. More recently, even throughout the Opioid Epidemic, the sale and use of meth remained a threat in many areas like Spokane. In fact, there are more overdose deaths involving meth than any other drug in the county. Moreover, individuals are now co-abusing substances like opioids and benzodiazepines alongside meth. A review of Spokane’s needle exchange participants found that 91% used meth and almost one-third co-abused meth and heroin simultaneously.
Medications like OxyContin and Xanax are central nervous system depressants that slow the brain and breathing. Conversely, meth has a stimulating effect on the body – raising the heartrate and body temperature. When these two types of drugs are used in combination, instead of canceling each other out, they put further strain on the brain and heart. Poly-drug use such as this increases an individual’s risk for bodily damage and/or fatal overdose.
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Substance Abuse Statistics for Spokane
On average, 84 Spokane County residents die of fatal drug overdose each year.
Between 2015 and 2016, Spokane County reported a 69% increase in fatal overdoses involving meth.
in 20 students
In 2016, 1 in 20 Spokane County high schoolers reported misusing prescription opioids to get high in the last 30 days.
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Substance Abuse Treatment in Spokane
Fortunately for the residents of Spokane, Washington provides a variety of options for addiction treatment, depending on the type and severity of addiction. Intensive inpatient and outpatient, long-term residential, recovery houses, and detox centers are all available to aid in the recovery of Washingtonians. Yet, a majority of resources focus on treating opioid or alcohol addictions – as opposed to meth or benzos.
Treatment programs created in response to soaring opioid overdose deaths often have few options for people who also use methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and other drugs. In many cases, providers refuse to treat them at all which really means we’re saying we only want to treat half of heroin users.
Thus, for those suffering from co-occurring disorders or a poly-drug addiction, traveling outside of Spokane for addiction treatment may be a necessity. Drug and alcohol rehabs in Seattle, or the world-renowned treatment centers to the south in California may provide better therapy options.
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Seeking help for an addiction can be an emotionally and physically difficult process. However, the cost of addiction far outweighs the cost of rehab for many. If it’s time for you to regain control of your life, speak with a dedicated addiction treatment provider today for more information on your rehab options.