Opioid and Meth Problems in Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota is one of many in the state struggling with drug abuse issues. While opioids still cause large-scale harm in other parts of the country, states like South Dakota struggle more with meth and alcohol. As the second most populous city in the state, Rapid City functions as a hub for drug use and distribution. In 2018 arrests rose to 1,546 out of 75,000 citizens because of the intensity of the drug problems in the city.
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Problems in and around Rapid City
The effects of drugs and addiction may seem intangible to some, but in places like Rapid City, they’re commonplace. The recent meth-related death of Rapid City citizen Julian Garcia pushed his twin brother Joe to do his part in raising awareness. Armed with a “Meth Kills” sign and a supportive family, he stands on street corners trying to get other people involved and aware. He told reporters that the number of people who feel compelled to tell him their history of drug use, or that of their loved ones, truly shocked him.
Julian Bear Runner, president of the Oglala Sioux living on nearby Pine Ridge Reservation, declared a state of emergency over meth abuse and resulting violence. He notes that meth is a cheap option, and people on reservations often turn to it as a means of coping with an underfunded, under-supported community that disadvantages its residents. The state of emergency requests aid from the federal government to allow Pine Ridge Reservation to properly treat people suffering within their community. The national coverage and shared anxiety of opioids allows meth problems to grow outside of the spotlight in communities like those in and around Rapid City. People are wary of prescription opioids and illegal options like heroin, but in the past year South Dakota recorded twice the national average of 12 to 17-year-olds using meth.
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“Meth. We’re On It.”
The drug abuse issue exemplified by Rapid City led the government of South Dakota to commission an ad campaign to raise awareness. The campaign received mixed reviews but went viral once the ads released across social media platforms. The videos include portrayals of South Dakota residents all saying “Meth, we’re on it.” The candidly self-deprecatory tone juxtaposed with the severity of the drug situation caused some skepticism around the campaign, but Governor Kristi Noem defended the campaign emphasizing the importance of raising awareness and siting the statistics illustrating the scale of the issue.
The campaign not only serves as a mean of raising general awareness about meth, but specifically about the degree to which it affects everyone in South Dakota. Each video and image in the campaign shows different types of South Dakotans: young and old, poor and rich, private citizens and public figures. Along with this effort, Noem allocated more money for treatment options in the state to try and assuage ailing communities like those in Rapid City.
Treatment in and Around Rapid City
The increased monetary support from the state government should increase the accessibility of addiction treatment in Rapid City and South Dakota in general. Within the city there are many different options for treatment. Across these individual rehab centers, those in need can find inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and sober living spaces. It’s clear that the issue of meth within South Dakota requires addressing and people in Rapid City have responded by creating a plethora of treatment centers. If someone is seeking inpatient treatment, while there are options within the city, some experts believe that seeking treatment away from home can help someone focus on their recovery more effectively.
Avoiding the Damage of Use Disorders
It’s clear that addiction can affect anyone, and it exacts a heavy toll if it goes untreated. If you or a loved one are suffering from a use disorder, whether it’s meth, alcohol, or gambling, reach out to caring professionals for help today. You don’t have to suffer alone or watch loved ones suffer without help. Acknowledging the need for assistance is the first step on the road towards recovery.