Illinois Drug Issues and Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation
In 2010 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association and its affiliate group, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, performed an extensive study into the abuse of drugs and alcohol in the state of Illinois. Contained herein are some of the facts, statistics, details, and possible solutions regarding the Illinois drug problem.
Major Issues at a Glance
There are almost uncountable problems and issues that arise from drug and alcohol abuse. Illinois suffers from these problems just like any other state in the Union. On a more unique front, Illinois, a pleasant, Midwestern state, happens to be home to the third largest city in the United States, Chicago. Midwestern towns are often used as relay points and transfer zones for major drug trafficking, and Chicago is no different, except that it is vastly larger than all other Midwestern towns, and can therefore be used by more drug traffickers. Because of this, Illinois will often see surges of drug use, sometimes higher than the national average. This being said, the biggest problem in Illinois today, as in many other states, is with a recent surge in opiate abuse, in the form of heroin and prescription pills.
Surveys and studies were done in 2010 to determine just how many Illinois residents were falling prey to addiction and substance abuse, and it was found that approximately an alarming seven percent of Illinois residents reported use of illicit drugs within a month of having been surveyed. Many of these residents also admitted to having used substances illicitly on a regular basis, and many others openly admitted to being addicted to drug substances. According to this study, heroin came forth prominently as the most commonly admitted to drug used among drug use admissions of Illinois residents. Shortly following this was a multitude of admissions to prescription pill abuse, mostly in the form of individuals getting their pills from someone who had a prescription for them, or from an individual who was using far more than he or she was prescribed. On a side note, meth use also increased in Illinois in recent years. The 2010 study showed that the number of meth lab seizure incidents in the state of Illinois increased by nine percent. This number rose from a number that roughly followed along with the nation’s state wide averages and percentages per capita at 364 incidents in 2007, and then jumping all the way up to 395 incidents in 2009.
Further study into the drug and alcohol problem in Illinois brought about an alarming discovery. As a direct and pronounced consequence and result of drug use, 1,239 persons died in Illinois in 2007. This can be compared to the number of persons in Illinois who died from motor vehicle accidents (1,375) and firearms (1,032) in the same year. Often times, as the study showed, the deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and firearms were also linked to some form of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction. Even though the actual number of drug induced deaths stood high at 1,239, it’s estimated that approximately 35-50% of the deaths caused by motor vehicles and firearms were in some way connected to drug and alcohol abuse. Illinois drug-induced deaths for the year that was analyzed came in at approximately ten deaths for every ten thousand residents, or one individual dying from drug use out of every thousand. Deaths that can be linked to drug use however, ranged closer to one out of every five hundred residents dying from some type of drug affected occurrence. This shows the ever present fact that substance abuse, addiction, and dependency have much further reaching effects than just the life, quality of living, and day to day struggle of the individual addict himself or herself.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides national and state-level data, statistics, compilations, and tabulations on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs (including non-medical use of prescription drugs), and mental health in the United States. This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration affiliate is a crucial unit in tackling and resolving drug abuse in the United States, as this group is responsible for tabulating and running statistics on drug use in different areas so that methods of approach and resolving can then be constructed.
Possible Solutions to Illinois’s Drug and Alcohol problem
As mentioned before, one of the biggest difficulties with resolving drug addiction in Illinois is simply the effort of keeping illegal or illegally obtained substances out of the state. In Illinois there exists a program to combat the seemingly everlasting drug presence in Chicago and the surrounding areas. Known as, The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program, this unit exists to create, enhance coordinate, direct, the control of drugs, their seizure, and the many containment efforts among the various local, state, and Federal law enforcement agencies. In designated HIDTA counties, most of which surround Chicago and the nearby areas, the program provides agencies with coordination, equipment, man power, technology, and additional resources to effectively and terminatedly combat drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States, Chicago being one of them.
Another program run by the state of Illinois is a comprehensive plan linked with the Drug Enforcement Agency, (DEA) to address prescription drug abuse in the form of actual pill containment. This program insists that regulations and rules must exist and include proper containment and disposal of unused, unneeded, or expired medications. This program’s ultimate goal is to provide individuals with a secure and convenient way and avenue to dispose of controlled substances such as prescription pills, to effectively help prevent obtainment and abuse of these substances, and to demonstrate safe, sound, and ethical environmental stewardship. According to the State of Illinois Substance Abuse and Mental Health Department actual federal rule making is currently underway for all states nationwide that will further enhance the viability and scope of state and community take-back programs such as the one currently in use in Illinois. In the meantime, Illinois will continue to work with the DEA to conduct additional take-back events and to properly educate the public about safe and effective drug return and disposal.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) are responsible for the effective tracking of controlled substances prescribed by authorized practitioners and physicians, and dispensed by pharmacies. Put in place in Illinois to combat prescription pill abuse, PDMPs are quite effective in closely monitoring the prescribing of and the distribution of prescription pills. PDMPs also serve a number of different functions and roles, including providing early warning signs of potential outbreaks and drug epidemics, detecting drug diversion, and discovering insurance fraud. A reported thirty-five states now have operational PDMP programs established by state legislation and funded by a combination of state and Federal funds both. Because of its effectiveness as a preventative measure to addiction, an additional thirteen states have a prescription drug monitoring program authorized and in place but not yet operational. In the future as more and more states adopt PDMPs and with continued adequate resourcing and development, an increase in the number of states with fully operational PDMPs will show a development of state-to-state information-sharing systems that will significantly help reduce prescription drug diversion and abuse.
The Ultimate Solution
Listed above are just some of the various key drug problems in Illinois, and a few of the preventative measures the state has taken to rectify these problems. However, no matter how hard the state of Illinois works to resolve drug addiction and dependency, the tragedy of drug addiction will still show itself in one way or another, even if at a slowly reduced rate. Currently, and for many years now, inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers hold the highest by far success rates for treating and curing individuals who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. Some of the highest quality and most successful centers in the country have located themselves in Illinois and the surrounding states to try and help combat the drug problem. If one is searching for answers to addiction for himself, herself, or a loved one, and the state’s preventative measures were not enough to keep addiction at bay, inpatient rehabilitation is most often the best answer.