Drug abuse is a problem spanning the entire U.S., whether using legal substances such as alcohol and prescription medications or illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. The drug abuse stats for Utah provide insight into the prevalence of substance abuse, the proportion of those using substances who receive treatment, and the overdose death rate in the state. The 2013 Behavioral Health Barometer for Utah (from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) provides detailed information about many important health issues, including substance abuse in Utah.
Utah Drug Abuse Statistics – Youth
The data available on youth illicit drug use in Utah focuses on those between the ages of 12 and 17, and 2011 to 2012 data is the most recent available. During this time, 6.7 percent of young people in Utah used illicit drugs in the month prior to the survey, equating to around 17,000 individuals in total. This figure is lower than the corresponding one for the U.S., which shows that 9.8 percent of all young people in the country used illicit substances. In 2008 to 2009, 8.2 percent of Utah youths had used illicit drugs, but the lowest rate between 2008 and 2012 was observed in 2010 to 2011, when 5.9 percent of respondents had used drugs.
Utah Drug Abuse Statistics – Over 12s
The statistics covering adult drug users is actually pooled data for all persons ages 12 or over, meaning some teens will also be included. For 2011 to 2012, 2.9 percent of Utah residents had used illicit drugs in the year preceding the survey, similar to the overall figure for the U.S. of 2.7 percent. This margin of difference between the national and state figures has been roughly unchanged since 2008, and the highest Utah drug abuse rate was observed between 2008 and 2010, when 3 percent of adults had used drugs in the past year.
Statistics for Drug Rehab Treatment in Utah
The numbers of Utah residents entering substance abuse treatment provides important information about the proportion of drug users who go on to get help for their addictions. In 2012, a single-day count of people enrolled in substance abuse treatment centers in Utah (meaning the number of enrollees on a specific day, rather than averaged over the whole year) was 12,271. This figure has been decreasing since 2009, when 13,492 were enrolled.
In 2012, 49 percent of these individuals were receiving treatment for both alcohol and drug problems, with 36.2 percent receiving help for a drug problem only. Out of all people dependent on or abusing illicit drugs in Utah, from 2008 to 2012, 20.4 percent went to drug treatment in the year prior to the survey, a figure in line with the national average.
Utah Drug Overdose Mortality
Drug overdose death rates from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics show that Utah tied for the eighth highest rate in 2010. In both Utah and Tennessee, 16.9 people per 100,000 in the overall population died of a drug overdose, with the majority of the deaths coming from misuse of prescription drugs. The highest rate in the U.S. in 2010 was in West Virginia, where 28.9 people per 100,000 in the population died of drug overdose.
Drug Help in Utah
Drug abuse is a serious public health problem in Utah and across the country. Although some drug abuse statistics for Utah are marginally lower than the national average, addiction still represents a serious and very real problem. Increasing the number of users receiving drug rehab treatment for their issues should be a key priority for public health, as well as curbing the abuse of prescription medications.