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Wyoming is home to an estimated 584,153 residents (2014 estimate). As the tenth most extensive state in the nation, Wyoming is also the second least densely populated state in the country. With ranch culture permeating many residents' daily lives, Wyoming is often referred to as the "Cowboy State". While alcohol and drug addiction are not common place throughout the state, addiction problems know no boundaries. Residents of Wyoming experience problems with substance abuse and addiction similar to other parts of the country. The most common substances of addiction in the state include alcohol, alcohol with a secondary drug, marijuana, meth and prescription drugs.
With the state's expanse of mountain ranges and prairies, both domestic and Mexican criminal groups use Wyoming's varying terrains, highways, commercial air carriers and package delivery services for the production, transportation and distribution of a number of illegal substances. Drugs frequently transported by these groups include marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine. There are also a number of domestic and local criminal drug trafficking groups in Wyoming responsible for smuggling illegal drugs into the state from California, Utah and Colorado.
Crack and cocaine are not a widespread problem in Wyoming and are primarily available only in major cities. While these drugs are highly addictive, The Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report for 2013 revealed only 7 individuals enrolled in Wyoming drug rehab programs for crack cocaine (smoked cocaine) and 30 individuals enrolled in Wyoming drug rehab programs for cocaine (use through methods other than smoking). During 2013, the majority of crack and cocaine addicts receiving treatment in Wyoming were male between the ages of 31-35 years old.
Meth use, abuse and addiction continue to be a problem throughout the state of Wyoming. During 2013, methamphetamine addiction was the primary reason behind 14.9% of all Wyoming drug rehab enrollments. The largest age group addicted to this substance was between the ages of 26-30 years old. Today, meth has become more expensive due to the many changes placed on the sale and importation of pseudo-ephedrine here in the United States and Mexico. As of 2009, Mexico stopped the importation of cold medication into the states. During this same timeframe the U.S. government made drastic revisions to the way cold medication containing pseudo-ephedrine was sold to the public here in America.
Marijuana is one of the most widely abused substances in Wyoming following alcohol. During 2013, close to 20% of the individuals in Wyoming drug rehab programs citied marijuana addiction as their primary substance of addiction. A majority of the cannabis found in Wyoming comes from Mexico. In some areas of the state marijuana from Canada and British Colombia is available. And, a small percentage of the cannabis used in Wyoming is grown locally. The penalties from possessing 3 ounces or less of marijuana in the state of Wyoming is up to a $1,000 fine, up to 1 year in jail or a combination of both penalties.
Heroin is not a commonly found drug throughout Wyoming. During 2013, Wyoming drug rehab programs enrolled 123 individuals (2.3% of all admissions) citing heroin addiction as their primary reason for receiving treatment. Over the last decade there has been a steady decrease in the demand for heroin despite the drugs easy availability, increased purity and relatively low price. The heroin available in Wyoming primarily comes from Mexico and is smuggled into the state through Utah and sold in inner cities by street gangs.
Club drugs such as "magic mushrooms" and LSD are recreationally abused by college students in Wyoming. MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly, XTC) and GHB are found in Wyoming. These drugs are often transported into the state from criminal groups in Colorado. Due to the recreational nature of club drug use, the number of residents enrolling in Wyoming drug rehab programs for club drug addiction problems is extremely low.
Prescription drug abuse and addiction has become a serious drug threat in Wyoming. A recent study concluded that Wyoming ranked 15th in having the highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. The majority of these overdose deaths were caused by prescription drugs. The number of drug overdose deaths has tripled in Wyoming since 1999, with an estimated 15 per 100,000 individuals suffering drug overdose fatalities in the state. The most commonly abused prescription drugs in Wyoming include OxyContin, Hydrocodone and Vicodin. There are a number of ways residents obtain these highly addictive and dangerous prescription drugs. Some have legitimate prescriptions that they abuse, others obtain them illegally through participating in fraud, doctor-shopping, forgery, stealing from people they know as well as buying these medications over the internet or on the street from dealers.
The decision to stop abusing alcohol or drugs is one of the most life changing choices a person makes during their lifetime time. To acknowledge that it is time to make some drastic changes in the way one lives their life takes courage. For this reason, choosing the right alcohol and drug rehab program is a serious process that takes much consideration. Wyoming has a number of different alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs ranging from addiction counseling, family therapy, support groups, short-term vs long-term treatment and inpatient vs. outpatient programs.
Determining the right program is done by factoring in several critical pieces of information: the substance(s) the individual is addicted to, the severity of their addiction and whether they have received treatment before. Taking these factors into consideration it becomes easier to determine what type of program will be the best choice for making a lasting recovery. Individuals who have only recently begun their decent into alcohol or other substance abuse may find the care and support they need through outpatient treatment. During outpatient drug rehab the individual continues to live at home while attending drug rehab on a regular basis. Individuals who have severe addiction issues and/or who are physically addicted to their drug of choice will require long-term inpatient or residential drug rehabilitation treatment. This form of recovery allows the individual to remove themselves from their day to day life during their treatment process. They reside at the drug rehab center during their recovery and have access to treatment professionals around the clock to ensure their needs are met. Studies have shown that long-term inpatient treatment lasting 90 days or longer have the highest success rate for helping their clients achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. Speaking with a treatment professional will provide more information on this subject and help to match the addicted individual with the right alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation program in Wyoming.