Drug Abuse Trends in Tamuning, Guam
Tamuning, a village on the western coast of Guam, is home to 19,685 residents. Picturesque beaches are central to Guam’s tourist industry. Harmon Industrial Park also contributes significantly to the territory’s economy. However, growing amounts of illicit drugs in Guam have contributed to rising rates of homelessness and crime. In 2017, for example, an overwhelming majority of weeks involved meth-related crimes or court cases involving meth dealers or addiction sufferers.
The most common substances of abuse in Tamuning include alcohol, marijuana, and meth (though cocaine is being found in increasing quantities in tourist areas). Unfortunately, these increases in substance abuse are putting a growing burden on the community and already-strained federal addiction treatment services.
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Alarming Rise in Drug Abuse in Tamuning
Tamuning, in particular, hosts a diverse population due to tourism and, subsequently, sees a greater influx of various types of illicit drugs. In recent years, authorities have seized record-breaking amounts of meth and cocaine. Meth and cocaine, both stimulants, have been shown to contribute to property crimes and theft, as well as violent crimes like assault. Additionally, the effects of both drugs can leave individuals with permanent cardiac and psychological issues.
Local and federal leaders have petitioned to designate the area a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking area. In a 2018 interview, one local Child Protective Services worker described growing rates of addiction in Guam as an “epidemic.”
“I was working the (drug) epidemic in the late ’80s and early ’90s where we were taking babies like every day and would take protective custody,” said Rose Reyes, a social worker with 20 years of experience. “We’re doing it more now where it’s still a problem with meth and cannabis, but we’re also seeing coke (cocaine) in some of the severe neglect cases.”
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Substance Abuse Statistics
In 2015, approximately 37% of high school students reported that someone had offered, sold, or given them an illicit drug while on school property.
In 2014, 15,684 grams of meth were seized in Guam; only 3,674 grams had been seized the year before.
From 2014 to 2015, drug-related offenses increased by 29% in Guam.
Addiction Treatment in Tamuning
To combat Guam’s modern addiction crisis, the government has begun to implement plans to expand substance abuse treatment. In Tamuning, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center is building an intensive detox program with the hope of being operational by mid-2019. The sixteen-bed recovery unit is another of the agency’s steps toward providing comprehensive addiction treatment to people on the island.
Yet, for many, there are not enough resources in their community to fully treat a severe addiction. As such, individuals looking for treatment options may need to consider traveling for rehab to the U.S.
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If you know someone struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, don’t wait to take action. Contact a rehab provider for more information about your recovery options.