Colorado, a western U.S. state, with a diverse landscape of desert, river canyons and the snow-covered Rocky Mountains where there are plenty of outdoor activities to do from hiking, skiing, and hunting. The state offers snowy mountains and wide open grasslands perfect for people who want to retire or start a business here.

Amid the beauty of Colorado, the state is haunted by one big problem – drug overdose. Drug problems in the US are sprouting like mushrooms, and their numbers are ascending with a trend. According to CNN, drug overdoses kill more than cars and guns in the US.

image of drug overdoses kill more than cars and guns in the US
drug overdoses kill more than cars and guns in the US

According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2000 to 2015, about more than half million people died from drug overdose. 91 Americans die every day from opioid overdose. That’s already an alarming rate and is continually rising to this date. There were reports of the following:

  • Law enforcement agencies in Colorado reported having seized at least 268.7 pounds of heroin in 2015 from 427 incidents. There was a massive increase from the 16 pounds of heroin taken and reported from 20 cases in 2011.
  • The heroin-related deaths climbed statewide from 79 in 2011 to 160 in 2015. Their state health department released the preliminary numbers for early 2017. It indicated that the number of heroin-related deaths approached 200 last 2016.
  • The rate of people in treatment for heroin addiction more than doubled in numbers over five years (2011 to 2015), from 2,994 to 6,815.
  • There’s about 70 percent of the surveyed drug users who said that prescription painkillers added to their decision in using heroin. 61 percent of users’ surveys reported that they experienced heroin overdose.

How did the drug overdose rate in Colorado arrive with this problem?

One of the most significant factors that made a substantial increase in the drug overdose rate in Colorado is geography. Colorado is crossed by eight Interstates namely; I-15, I-25, I-70, I-76, I-80, I-84, I-90, and the I-94.

The city of Denver, Colorado’s capital and its suburbs make it a perfect place as a center for drug dealings and distribution coming into the U.S., across the Canadian border, or for drugs being trafficked north from the Southwest border.

Causes of the Current Drug Problem in Colorado

According to Colorado’s health department, 259 casualties were recorded in 2015 on what health officials call ‘natural’ prescription opioids. The perpetrators were drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone. Drug overdose deaths even top the record for homicide.

image of Drug overdose deaths even top the record for homicide.
Drug overdose deaths even top the record for homicide.

Source: Denver Post

To further know the causes of the current drug problem in Colorado, here are some facts:

  • Colorado drug overdoses were higher than in almost every county and ahead of the national average. The number is rising throughout all of Colorado, including the rural areas. Treatment admissions have also tripled between 2012-2014.
  • The state of Colorado was the only state with heavy consumption of four major intoxicants, drugs like marijuana, alcohol, cocaine and opioids (prescription painkillers and heroin).
  • A high number of addicts weren’t getting the help they needed. The number of treatment centers didn’t match up to the number of addicts in the area.
  • Prescription opioid overdose had decreased, but the number of illegal street drug overdoses rose. It has reached the urban areas, too.
  • Colorado looked like it couldn’t handle the addiction crisis. With all the factors stated above, drug addiction was causing more problems for
  • Colorado. The more the number of drug overdose cases, the more difficult the situation is for the state.

What are the popular abused drugs in Colorado?

Here are the commonly abused drugs in Colorado:

  • Methamphetamine. Most commonly known as meth, is a stimulant. This drug stimulates the brain’s ability to release dopamine and create a short-term high. It’s also the third-most cited drug category on Colorado death certificates.
  • Opioids. Other forms of drugs are derived from opioids, such as the illegal drug heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Opioid-derived pain relievers are available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, and morphine.
  • Cocaine. The drug has ranked #5 in statewide treatment admissions. Cocaine is also the second-most popular drug indicated on Colorado death certificates.

How does Colorado deal with their drug problems?

With these problems at hand, the state of Colorado deals with their issues in an aggravated manner to solve their drug problems. Even the Senate approved a legislation to develop a substance abuse research center at the University of Colorado.
They also have strengthened their support to rehabilitation centers and sober living programs.

These actions may not be enough now, but soon enough they’ll create a significant impact on the state of Colorado. One day, the state will live a sober and peaceful life as the government and its law enforcing agencies continues to make solutions for these problems.

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