Drug Addiction in Washington State
A review of illicit drugs, the misuse and abuse of prescription opiates and alcohol abuse
by Marcel Gemme, Drug Rehab Services USA
Drug addiction is not a new problem for Washington State. During the 1990’s grunge movement, musicians flocked to Seattle, bringing their heroin habits with them. Heroin quickly made its way through the community, introducing many individuals to drugs and others to opiates for the first time. Today, drug addiction continues to be a problem in Washington, dangerously approaching epidemic proportions.
Drug-related Deaths and Costs in Washington State
For over three decades, Washington’s drug-related death rate has been higher than the national average. It has continued to rise at an alarming rate in the last decade, more than doubling between 1997 and 2007. While illicit drugs continue to play a part is this terrible tragedy, the misuse and abuse of prescription opiates are also partly to blame. However, the worst drug problem in the state is alcohol abuse, including underage drinking. One recent study reported that twenty percent of Washington twelfth graders admitted being drunk or high at least once in the school year prior to the survey. One in eight twelfth graders also reported that in the thirty days prior to the survey, they had used prescription opiates non-medically in order to get high.
In 2008, practically forty percent of all publicly funded rehabilitation treatment center admissions for opiate addiction were individuals between eighteen and twenty-five years of age. Overall, rehabilitation treatment admissions of individuals just completing detoxification programs increased nearly forty percent in the prior decade, possibly because of a simultaneous increase in state-funded treatment programs during the same time period.
In 2010, the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery within the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, reported that alcohol and drug abuse cost the state of Washington $5.2 billion every year, which is more than the costs related to cancer and obesity. This shocking sum is broken down further as follows:
- Substance abuse-related premature mortality is responsible for $2 billion in annual costs.
- Substance abuse-related crime is responsible for over $1 billion in annual costs.
- Substance abuse-related medical care is responsible for roughly $790 million in annual costs.
The Value of Washington Drug Prevention
The most effective solution to the problem of substance abuse and addiction is prevention. Many individuals may hear some general statement such as, “Drugs and alcohol can be dangerous,” but never learn the facts about drugs and alcohol and the effects they create on the body. However, individuals who have considered trying or have tried drugs or alcohol and who have been educated in the truth about these substances have often chosen to abstain from future drug or alcohol use. Youth who may have previously believed that substance abuse was normal, acceptable and generally safe can be given the facts that show it is actually highly dangerous, and they can then responsibly choose sobriety.
Research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has proven that drug education and prevention programs that involve families, schools, community and the media are effective in reducing the incidence of drug abuse. Such programs are vital in helping not only youth, but also the general public understands the facts about and risks of substance abuse and addiction. By spreading the message that drug addiction can be prevented if one knows the truth, teachers, parents, medical and health professionals can be an important part of drug prevention in their community.
Pioneer Human Services Treatment Programs
Ideally, substance abuse prevention methods would work so thoroughly that substance abuse never occurred, and rehabilitation treatment was never necessary. While this is a goal to strive for, it is important that individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction receive the support and help they need to recover from drugs and alcohol.
Pioneer Human Services is a nationally recognized non-profit organization focusing on helping individuals overcome the challenges of chemical dependency, mental health issues and criminal histories. With nearly sixty facilities in operation, Pioneer offers a wide range of treatment, housing and employment services to provide individuals with the tools needed to move in a positive direction in their lives. Pioneer’s goal is to provide a chance for change for people who want to turn their lives around. An example of Pioneer’s treatment facilities and programs include:
Pioneer Co-Occurring Residential Program (CORP) is the only long-term residential co-occurring treatment program available in Washington State. Over a sixty to ninety-day period, residents of the sixteen-bed facility in Seattle receive specialized treatment to address co-occurring mental health and chemical dependency issues.
Pioneer Center North is located in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, and is a long-term residential treatment program designed to help individuals who are suffering from chronic chemical dependency. Residents of the 141-bed facility receive sub-acute detoxification and stabilization treatment, life skills education, relapse behavior prevention education, anger management classes and much more.
Pioneer Center East is located in Spokane, Washington, and similar to Pioneer Center North, it is a long-term residential treatment program for chronic chemical dependency sufferers where the residents receive needed care and services.
Skagit County Crisis Center (SCCC) is a 16-bed crisis, mental health stabilization and sub-acute detox program. The center provides many of their services twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, in order to assist individuals who are experiencing a mental health-related crisis or who need substance abuse-related detoxification. Some of the services provided at SCCC include:
- Sub-Acute Detoxification Services – ensures safe withdrawal from alcohol and drugs, provides chemical dependency assessment referrals, and assists clients to ensue after care is arranged.
- Short Term Mental Health Stabilization
- Jail Transitions Case Management – promotes successful community reintegration from jail for Skagit residents.
- Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) – designed for inmates who are currently incarcerated at Skagit County Jail.
- Mobile Outreach Team (MOT) – dispatched to intervene with Skagit County residents 18 years and older in need of mental health services. MOT services are available Monday through Friday, from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. – Phone: (360) 630-3619.
- Housing Case Management – helps individuals with mental illness and/or chemical dependency issues to remain in a stable environment.
For more information about Pioneer Human Services treatment programs please call our headquarters at (206) 768-1990 or visit the Counseling and Treatment pages on our website at http://pioneerhumanservices.org/treatment/ for direct contact information.