Substance Abuse in Bismarck, North Dakota
Bismarck is the capital city of North Dakota and the second-most populous city in the state. The area is home to 132,142 metro residents in the West Central region and 72,865 people within the city. Nearly half of the state lives in rural areas (about 49.6%). Accordingly, rural substance abuse trends in the state typically involve the abused of alcohol, marijuana, meth, and opioids.
Across the state, alcohol is the most common substance of abuse–61.8% consumed alcohol regularly. In Bismarck’s Burleigh County, 23% of adults engaged in binge drinking in 2018, notably higher than a national average of 17%. Alcohol-related crime is also high in the region. A third of all arrests were for DUI or liquor law violations in 2014, and nearly half of all fatal crashes involved alcohol. Comparatively, only 30% of national fatal accidents involved drunk driving.
Illicit Drug Use in Bismarck
In recent years, rates of illicit drug use have climbed in Bismarck. The region’s oil boom has also contributed to some of the commuter population’s substance abuse issues. Adult meth abuse nearly doubled from 2012 to 2015; heroin abuse skyrocketed 600%. In 2015, the state counted 61 overdose deaths–10 of which took place in Burleigh County. That would be equivalent to 27,520 fatal overdoses in Miami-Dade County, Florida, in one year.
Narcotics task forces in Bismarck carry out between 1 and 2 raids weekly and had seized over $2.5 million in meth by early November 2017 (a 200% increase from the year before). At one of the state’s Syringe Service Program locations, 92% reported meth as their primary substance of abuse.
The abuse of substances like meth, heroin, and alcohol have been shown to contribute to increased crime, as well as violent crime. Statewide, individuals with drug offenses on parole or probation doubled. Meth violations increased sevenfold, and heroin violations climbed from 4 in 2010 to 177 in 2015. All addictions carry a risk of drug-seeking behavior that may include criminal activities to obtain drugs or alcohol. Additionally, chronic meth abuse can cause anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior.
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Addiction Statistics for Bismarck
In 2015 in Burleigh County, 10 people died of drug-induced overdose.
23% of adults binge drink (a form of heavy drinking) in Burleigh County.
lbs of meth
In 2016, 673 lbs of meth were seized in Bismarck’s West Central region.
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Addiction Treatment in Bismarck
In 2016, approximately 9% of North Dakotans qualified as having a Substance Use Disorder, above the national average of 7.8%. In 2018, the state voted to expand Medicaid as well as patients’ access to addiction treatment services. The state can also provide a Substance Use Disorder Voucher for treatment to those who qualify.
In Bismarck, rehab services include:
- Drug and alcohol evaluations
- Inpatient rehab
- Outpatient rehab
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Individual and family therapy
To encourage residents to seek help when they need it most, North Dakota passed a Good Samaritan Law. This allows friends, family, and bystanders to call 911 in the event of an overdose without fear of criminal consequences for possession or ingestion.
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