For those of us that live in Arizona, we know just how beautiful this state is. Yes, California is the sunshine state, but in all reality, we think Arizona is the true sunshine state. We may not have the beaches and forests that other west coast states have, but boy do we have some beautiful, lavish landscapes and perfect weather (for the most part). You could get a little bit of everything in this state: sunshine, snow, beautiful sceneries, stunning sunsets, etc. However, underneath all that beauty is something that takes away from the gorgeous landscapes and scenic views. The rampant issue of addiction is something that the great state of Arizona has had to deal with for years now. Over the last few decades, AZ has seen a massive influx in cases of substance abuse, addiction, and overdose-related deaths. From 2016 to 2017, Arizona saw an increase of 9.4% in cases of substance abuse-related deaths. That number continues to rise, just like it does in states across the U.S. Why does this happen? It could be due to the opioid epidemic in the U.S. or it could be because of Arizona’s close proximity to the Mexico border, making it more likely that cartels illegally import substance into the state.
There is much to consider on the topic of addiction in Arizona, so we are going to take a deep dive into this topic for this article. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the most commonly abused substances in Arizona to give you a better idea as to why this has become such an issue in the Copper State.
6 Commonly Abused Substances in AZ
Alcohol: Alcohol is a legal substance pretty much everywhere in the world, so long as a person is 21 years or older (or younger in some countries). This substance is the number one most abused substance in Arizona. Because it is legal and virtually anyone that wants some can get some, the potential for abuse is significantly higher than most substances out there. Because most people see the consumption of alcohol as socially acceptable and some even view intoxication from alcohol use as normal, people often become addicted but fail to realize the development of dependency. Yes, some people “drink in moderation”, but if a person starts to ingest more than they normally would, they’ll be tempted to continually reach new limits as they ingest more alcohol more frequently. Long-term abuse of this substance can result in some serious side-effects on a person’s health. Here are some alarming statistics we’ve gathered for you to analyze:
- According to a 2013 survey done by the CDC, 780,000 Arizona residents said that they actively engage in binge drinking. That’s nearly 13% of the population.
- Another alarming statistic that the CDC pulled from Arizona residents is the fact that Arizona had the 4th highest alcohol-related death count between 2010 and 2012.
- The same study showed that nearly 18.7% per 1 million residents suffered from alcohol poisoning.
Prescription Painkillers: Prescription painkillers and opioids are among some of the most dangerous substances out there. These drugs are highly potent and meant to sedate people who are in a state of unbearable pain. Most of the time, people with chronic pain or people recovering from surgeries have prescribed these kinds of medications because the pain can be unbearable to deal with. If a person goes outside of the suggested dose of a medication, they could easily start to develop an addiction. Here are some statistics on opioid abuse in Arizona:
- A 2013 study showed that for every 100 Arizona residents, there were 76.2 opioid prescriptions written for patients.
- One study showed that, in 2016, there were over 431 million pills that were prescribed. That’s about 2 and a half week’s worth of medication for every one person in Arizona.
- Between 2017 and 2019 there have been over 2,400 suspected opioid deaths and 18,000 opioid overdoses.
Heroin: When a person is unable to get their prescription drug dose, what often happens is they start to transition to alternative forms of medication. One of these alternate medications these individuals use is heroin, an illicit, potent, and highly addictive street opioid. Because this drug has similar effects to prescription drugs, users are easily tempted to use it. Most people that end up seeking treatment for their heroin addiction say that their addiction started after prescription drug abuse. In 2017, Heroin was linked to over 300 deaths and accounted for 35% of opioid-related deaths in the state.
Methamphetamines: Another substance that is running rampant across America, especially Arizona, is methamphetamine. The DEA in Phoenix labeled methamphetamine the most deadly substance in Arizona due to the increased production and distribution of the substance that they were seeing. One year, there were over 14,000 hospital visits that were related to meth abuse.
Cocaine: This substance is one that is often abused by young adults, ages 18-25. This stimulant drug is extremely potent, but the effects do not last very long. Due to the potency and the short high, this drug gives a user, the substance essentially encourages users to ingest more to keep their high going. Unfortunately, Arizona ranks in the top 10 states with the highest rates of cocaine abuse.
Marijuana: Even though this substance is still illegal in Arizona, people are still able to get their hands on it. This could be due to Arizona’s close proximity to California and Colorado, both states with legal recreational and medicinal marijuana use. Even though many people would argue against the idea that marijuana is addictive, the substance can easily become an addictive substance to a user. The euphoric high a person gets from this drug can be highly desirable to users, which could cause them to have uncontrollable desires and powerful dependencies over time.
Addiction is something that people all across the U.S. deal with, but the only way we can start to help other states with their problems with addiction is by helping our own. If you or someone you know is struggling with a dependency on drugs or alcohol, reach out to a local rehabilitation center today. They can provide you with helpful resources and addiction recovery programs that can help you or someone else fight against substance abuse. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
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