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The Drug Scene in Washington State

In recent years, Washington State has faced problems of drug trafficking and abuse that were mostly centered around marijuana and methamphetamine. But this year, the Northwest HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) program administered through the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has placed heroin and meth as the highest drugs of concern.

This can be attributed in part to the legal status changes of marijuana, but the increase in use and addiction to heroin in the state are of much greater concern.

So the Northwest HIDTA Threat Assessment Survey (Northwest HIDTA TAS) has officially altered the rankings.

There really aren't any safe spaces in the Northwest where drugs are concerned.

In Washington State, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, an average of 153 deaths reported monthly in 2014. Washington State led the way with 949 overdose deaths in the same year.

"We know that drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury in the United States, taking more lives than car crashes," Susan Johnson, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Seattle, said in a conference call with reporters.

It has been surmised that a large part of the increase is drug overdoses and the increases in heroin abuse and addiction are due to over-prescription of powerful opioid pain-killers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. A huge percentage of heroin addicts are former users and abusers of these pain relievers who, when their tolerance to the drugs becomes so high that they're taking more than even negligent doctors will prescribe, must turn to the cheaper and more available option of heroin.

Once the addict has moved into this arena, the only solution is going to be intensive in-patient drug rehabilitation treatment; and the sooner the better. Every day, the addict is taking risks. Loss of health is guaranteed in short order, but loss of sanity and loss of life is too common. 949 overdose deaths in 2014, and each one was someone's son, daughter, parent or friend.

Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older in Washington, by Substate Region: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2010, 2011, and 2012 NSDUHs (Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

In Washington State, there were 1,033 drug-induced deaths involving prescription-type opioids, cocaine, heroin, tranquilizers, meth and other substances, in 2011.

Washington State Government Agencies

Drug Abuse Facts

Drug Abuse Information

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