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North Dakota Drug Addiction


What Is Drug Abuse?

Some drugs aren’t available by prescription and therefore must be purchased on the street to get high. Examples of street drugs that are abused include heroin, cocaine, marijuana and crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth). These drugs are the subjects of North Dakota drug addiction.

These drugs are highly addictive and can lead to a substance abuse addiction after only a few uses. These drugs cause changes in the brain that cause a person to crave more and more. Eventually, a person in North Dakota loses control over his or her habit. The result can be a downward spiral that leads to seeking out drugs, despite negative consequences on a personal and physical health level.

Statistics Related to Drug Abuse and Addiction in North Dakota

According to WhiteHouse.gov, an estimated 6 percent of people in North Dakota used drugs in the past month. This is less than the national average of 8.02 percent. The most commonly cited drug of abuse was marijuana. Marijuana was responsible for nearly 500 drug treatment admissions in the state, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The next-most reported drug responsible for treatment admissions was other opiates, including pain medicines, and stimulants, such as medicines to treat ADHD.

According to a Fox News affiliate in Williston, Mexican drug cartels are making their way to North Dakota.

“Organized drug dealers are smart,” says Tim Purdon, U.S. Attorney for western North Dakota. “They’re good businessmen. They go where the demand is and that’s what we’re seeing here … There’s simply a lot of money involved, a lot of money flowing around in these communities.”

According to the Fox News report, 336 federal prosecutions took place in North Dakota in 2013, which increased from 2009’s numbers of 126 federal prosecutions. Prices for drugs also tend to be higher in North Dakota. For example, a gram of meth may sell for $120 in a large city but could cost $200 in Williston.

Opiate abuse, such as heroin, is also on the increase, according to the Grand Forks Herald. The state Attorney General’s office analyzed 99 heroin samples in 2013, which was an increase from 48 samples in 2012. An estimated 32 North Dakotans died from heroin overdose in 2013, which is a large increase from 2005’s numbers, where five people died from heroin overdose, according to an article in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Commonly Abused Drugs

In North Dakota, some of the most commonly abused drugs are cocaine, heroin and crystal meth. Below contains details about each drug and how a drug rehabilitation facility can help a person struggling with addiction.

  • Cocaine

Cocaine is a drug known as a stimulant because it triggers the central nervous system. It is a white powder made from leaves of the coca plant from South America. The drug is most commonly inhaled, which creates an almost instant high.

  • Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: A person using cocaine will feel a euphoric rush, causing heightened energy and feelings of euphoria. However, there are several negative effects associated with cocaine abuse, including increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. A person may also experience decreased appetite, stomach pain and nausea. Cocaine can also lead to heart attack and stroke due to its effects.
  • Drug Category: Cocaine is a Schedule II drug and may be prescribed in very small amounts for medical uses. However, it is largely considered a drug that is highly addictive.
  • Why Is This Drug So Addictive? Cocaine increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. The euphoric rush associated with cocaine abuse can cause a person to feel addicted. Also, the drug’s effects are not long-lasting. This can cause a person to take the drug over and over again in an attempt to recapture the rush.
  • Treatment Options/Withdrawals from the Substance: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are no existing FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine abuse. However, there are drug rehabilitation programs available that can provide services, such as behavioral health interventions and counseling to help those struggling with cocaine abuse problems overcome their disorders.
  • Heroin

Heroin is an opioid medication that works on sensors in the brain responsible for pain relief. Heroin is a stronger drug than pain-relieving medications, such as oxycodone and morphine. As drug enforcement agents in North Dakota continue to crack down on prescription drug abuse, more residents are turning to heroin as it is cheaper and sometimes easier to obtain than medication.

  • Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Heroin creates feelings of extreme euphoria in the user. However, it also has several problematic health effects, namely slowing a person’s breathing. This can lead to respiratory arrest, which can lead to death. Other symptoms a person may be abusing heroin include dry mouth, skin flushing, heavy extremities and being in a drowsy state.
  • Drug Category: Heroin is a Schedule I drug meaning it is illegal and also highly addictive.
  • Why Is This Drug So Addictive? Heroin creates an intense euphoria that is very strong and highly addictive. Opioid addiction causes a person to become dependent upon the drug and require more and more to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
  • Treatment Options/Withdrawals from the Substance: Treatments for heroin abuse include pharmacologic (medications) as well as behavioral treatments, such as group and individual counseling.
  • Crystal Meth

Methamphetamine or crystal meth is a stimulant that is also known as glass due to its glass-like appearance. Those in North Dakota who abuse the drug do so by smoking, snorting or injecting the drug.

  • Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Like cocaine, meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. However, the effects are more extreme and longer-lasting than cocaine abuse. Symptoms a person may be abusing crystal meth may include anxiety, confusion, difficulty sleeping, violent behavior and psychosis, such as seeing things that are not there.
  • Drug Category: Crystal meth is a Schedule II drug, meaning it does have some medical effects (in very small doses) but is highly addictive.
  • Why Is This Drug So Addictive? Crystal meth is addictive due to the amount of dopamine released in the brain. Also, crystal meth lasts longer than cocaine in terms of a high.
  • Health Risks from Abusing the Drug: Crystal meth use can cause changes in the brain that lead to impaired learning and memory. Psychosis from meth use can lead to skin picking that causes sores to develop on the body. Also, if a person abuses the drug intravenously, this can lead to increased risk for diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
  • Treatment Options/Withdrawals from the Substance: The FDA hasn’t approved medications for treating crystal meth abuse. However, there are behavioral health treatments available for those in North Dakota suffering from methamphetamine addiction.

Seeking treatment for drug addiction can help you turn your life around. Call a qualified specialist today!