Although Idaho may not generate the same kind of conversation as a state like West Virginia, which has the highest rate of drug overdoses in the country, addiction is still a major issue in Idaho that has only gotten worse in recent years. From Twin Falls to Coeur d’Alene, abuse of illicit substances has destroyed the lives of thousands of individuals, and has torn families apart. Here is a look at the current status of addiction in Idaho…
High rates of alcoholism in Idaho
The number one biggest substance problem in Idaho is alcohol, by far. Indeed, Idaho ranks as the 11th drunkest state in the country, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. On top of that, Idaho ranks as the state with the 2nd highest rate of DUIs per capita, which is a dangerous criteria to win the silver medal for. Indeed, over 5% of wrecks in the state involve alcohol impaired drivers.
Per capita, Sandpoint is the city in Idaho with the highest rate of alcohol abuse (which makes sense, as there is more alcohol per person in Sandpoint than anywhere else in the state). However, Coeur d’Alene and Boise were not far behind. What is sad about the statistics in Idaho is that a shockingly high 93% of Idahoans who suffer from alcohol abuse will not get help every year. Indeed, only 3% of Idahoans in addiction recovery programs were there for alcohol abuse.
Rising rates of opioid addiction
From 1999 to 2008, according to the CDC, the rate of drug overdoses per capita doubled in Idaho. Although these numbers are in line with the rest of the country, they are nonetheless alarming. However, just like the rest of the country, the rise of these numbers is largely due to the increase of opioid abuse, both from prescription opioids and harder drugs, like heroin.
Indeed, roughly 20% of high school-aged youth in Idaho have used a prescription drug, recreationally. Research has shown that prescription drug abuse often feeds into even more dangerous opioid abuse, particularly heroin. In the year between 2014 and 2015, Idaho State Police found over 8 times as much heroin in drug busts.