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Boise Addiction Facts that You Need to Know

We know where Ground Zero is, in terms of supply, where it comes from. It comes from Mexico. PERIOD. We can react all we want. Until we shut down the supply that overwhelms both law enforcement and society, we’re really just throwing money and resources away. This isn’t on television, it isn’t a game, and it’s certainly not going away.” ~ Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 720,000 people cross the US-Mexico border illegally every year. Only about half are ever caught. Many of those that make it across are smugglers – bringing in truckloads of heroin, methamphetamines, and other drugs. The network of highway systems in the US – US Route 93, I-84, and Interstate 5 are all popular – allows Mexican drug cartels to bring their product to Idaho and the rest of the country. And, because of their unique geographic location, both Ada—including Boise, the state capitol—and Canyon counties in Idaho are part of the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). As Boise television station KTVB said in their investigative series, “The Corridor”, “All roads lead to Idaho.” Now, let’s take a look at the impact this influx of drugs is having on Boise. Here is some information about the four biggest drug threats facing the Boise area.

Methamphetamine Abuse in Boise, Idaho

It’s a 98 percent first-time addiction drug, so meth is not something you want to mess with.” ~ Idaho First Lady Lori Otter According to the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Program’s 2017 Threat Assessment and Counter-Drug Strategy, methamphetamine is the region’s “greatest drug threat“.

  • Even though meth lab seizures are down because of stricter laws that limit the purchase of pseudoephedrine, meth usage and trafficking in the area has increased. The primary reason for this is the imported product from outside the state and from Mexico.
  • Law enforcement officers in Boise and the rest of the HIDTA had this to say about meth:
    • 93% said that it “most contributes to violent crime”
    • 76% said it “most contributes to property crime”
    • 76% said it “has the greatest impact on their caseload”
    • 68% said it was the “most prevalent illicit drug”
    • 63% said it was the “greatest drug threat”
  • In 2015, the HIDTA Task Force seized 755 pounds of meth, equal to FIVE TIMES 2010’s amount.
  • The Idaho State Police report that out of all samples they analyzed in 2014 and 2015, methamphetamines was the most-submitted drug.
  • At 42%, methamphetamines represent the largest primary substance abuse listed in treatment admissions in Idaho.
  • Between 2009 and 2013, methamphetamine-related deaths rose by 75%.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, methamphetamine arrests increased by 70%.

Heroin Abuse in Boise, Idaho

A lot of it we first started to see more on the East Coast and in the Midwest, but now we are seeing quite a bit of it out this way also. Every state is dealing with a rise in it, and there is various different reasons why that’s going on.” ~ Jermaine Galloway, former Boise police officer and now Director for Tall Cop Says Stop HIDTA’s Threat Assessment reports that heroin is the area’s second-greatest drug problem.

  • In one year, 2014-2015, the amount of heroin that the Idaho State Police took the streets skyrocketed by 800%.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, Idaho heroin arrests rose by more than 600%.
  • Treatment admissions for heroin treatment increased by 400% 2002-2013.
  • Statistics show that 80% of heroin users started with prescription opioids.
  • People who are addicted to prescription opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.
  • Every 39 hours, an Idahoan dies of an unintentional opioid overdose.

Prescription Drug Misuse in Boise, Idaho

“I’m not as concerned about the number of prescriptions per capita as I am with the length of the prescription. Five pills might be appropriate for the pain, but the patient doesn’t need a 30-day supply. And at the same time, we need to try to educate prescribers of other options that aren’t as dangerous or addictive.” ~ Idaho State Senator Brent Hill

  • Drug overdose deaths in Idaho jumped 63% between 2006 and 2014. The majority were opioid-related.
  • That equates to 1544 deaths.
  • Over 85% of death certificates that reported a specific drug listed prescription drugs.
  • Between 2009 and 2013, Boise had more than twice as many drug-induced deaths as any other city in Idaho.
  • According to a 2016 report from the National Safety Council, 99% of doctors still continue to prescribe opioid painkillers for longer than the three days recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Approximately one-fourth of those doctors surveyed dispense at least 30 days’ worth of opioids.
  • Within the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA, 62% of the controlled prescription drugs seized in 2015 were prescription opioids. Another 21% were prescription benzodiazepines.
  • Controlled prescription drug misuse doubled between 2008 and 2012.
  • One out of every seven treatment admissions in Idaho is for prescription medications.

Marijuana Abuse in Boise, Idaho

“It is well-known that marijuana use adversely affects the health and developing brains of children and adolescents and legalization increases access to this harmful drug, so today is a great day for the health and safety of Idaho’s children.” ~ Elisha Figueroa, Administrator of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, speaking from Boise earlier this year, about a petition to decriminalize marijuana that was withdrawn

  • Marijuana trafficking charges in Idaho have tripled since 2009.
  • In the Boise-area section of the HIDTA, marijuana arrests have risen steadily since 2009 and now account for more than 70% of all drug-related arrests.
  • More than one out of every five impaired drivers in the Boise area test positive for marijuana.
  • The demographic with the highest rate of marijuana use is the 18-25-year-old age group.

Obviously, when it comes to substance abuse in and around Boise, there are challenges. Unfortunately, that is to be expected in a state where one out of every four people in prison is there for drug-related crimes. The only way to meet those challenges is with early and effective education, prevention, intervention, and evidence-based treatment. SOURCES: