Substance abuse is a nationwide problem, and every state has different factors and unique substance abuse issues. Despite being one of the least populated states in the country, North Dakota has significant problems with substance abuse, particularly with methamphetamine and opioids.

Over the past decade, drug overdoses have eclipsed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Although North Dakota’s relatively low population means the increase in substance abuse in the state is comparatively insignificant to that of other states, the drug overdose rate in North Dakota climbed a staggering 36.5% between 2014 and 2015, according to CDC research.

North Dakota’s Challenges With Drugs and Alcohol

North Dakota is primarily rural with few densely populated areas. While most people falsely associate illicit drug use with heavily populated urban settings, rural areas nationwide have reported notable increases in drug abuse, admissions to substance abuse treatment programs, and overdose deaths. There are several factors at play, and it’s important to understand the unique risk factors in North Dakota that lead many citizens into addiction and substance abuse.

Rural areas like North Dakota typically display higher rates of alcohol abuse than more urban areas. Rural settings can induce feelings of isolation, anxiety, boredom, and depression for many people. These feelings, combined with a struggling economic climate and typically demanding daily labor, all contribute to making citizens of North Dakota statistically more inclined to abuse alcohol and other substances. North Dakota also battles rising prescription opioid abuse rates as well as a widespread methamphetamine problem.

Methamphetamine is powerful and extremely addicting. The withdrawal from methamphetamine addiction can cause addicts to act unpredictably and even violently in some cases. Methamphetamine is consistently identified as a problem by North Dakota law enforcement, and the state’s rural settings naturally accommodate illegal methamphetamine production and trafficking.

North Dakota Prescription Drug Abuse Problems

North Dakota’s biggest industries are agriculture and manufacturing, two industries that naturally have a higher risk of on-the-job injuries. Many people who suffer serious traumatic injuries or undergo surgeries must take prescription painkillers to manage their pain. Prescription opioid sales have skyrocketed in the United States since 1999. As the number of opioids sold increased, so has the number of prescriptions written and not surprisingly, overdose deaths have risen as well.

Prescription opioids are responsible for more overdose deaths than any other drug, and this could be partially due to a lack of awareness about the inherent dangers of these drugs. Many patients become addicted because they take more than prescribed, or take them for longer than necessary. Additionally, many people falsely assume that since a medication was prescribed by a doctor, it is inherently safe. Lawmakers at all levels have pushed various measures to encourage doctors to be more discerning in their prescribing practices and fully warn patients of the inherent risks of addiction to prescription opioid painkillers.

The Cycle Of Addiction

Many heroin users were once prescription opioid users. Unfortunately, prescription opioids are a consistent gateway to heroin abuse. Once a person has developed an addiction to prescription opioids, he or she will often attempt to secure as many refills as possible to sustain the addiction. Many patients who reach this stage mistake the withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction with the pain of their existing condition that may have already healed.

Hiring A Professional Interventionist

Once you discover a friend or loved one has developed an addiction, the news can shock the entire family. Some family members may falsely assume they are to blame for the addict’s problem, and other egocentric issues can sometimes prevent a family from having constructive conversations about the addict’s behavior. One of the best ways to tell addicts that their behavior has gone too far and the family is concerned for their health is to stage an intervention. Interventions are basically planned confrontations with an addict. Family members and friends will let the addict know they care about their safety and well-being and explain the effects their addiction has had.

Every family is different, and every substance abuse case has unique factors. Sometimes the intervention process can be less helpful than intended thanks to flaring tempers and the addict’s unwillingness to change. Many families have found success by hiring a professional interventionist like the ones at Family First Interventions.

Drug & Alcohol Intervention in North Dakota

A professional Family First interventionist will fly to an addict’s location and help the family and support system plan an intervention. Additionally, the interventionist acts as a mediator for the intervention and can help the addict understand other loved ones’ perspectives without emotional barriers.

Overcoming substance abuse, especially for opioids, methamphetamine, and alcohol, is a very stressful and often painful process. The withdrawal symptoms of these addictions are very unpleasant at best and potentially life-threatening at worst. Having a professional to help the recovery process start strong is a tremendous asset for any family coping with an addicted loved one.