New Mexico continues to have one of the highest rates of drug abuse among children 13 and younger than any other state in the nation. It is reported that over 75% of youth have used marijuana within the past 30 days and engaged in binge drinking behavior. While there are many illegal drugs abused in the state, the most prominently abused substance remains alcohol. The average age of persons seeking addiction treatment in New Mexico is between 17 and 30. The majority of persons who abuse drugs are male, and since 1992, there has been a doubled percentage of persons seeking treatment who also have an untreated mental disorder. The number of treatment facilities in New Mexico has not changed much within the past decade, but all report that admissions have gone up.
Why is alcohol abuse on the rise in New Mexico?
Alcohol continues to be the drug of choice for most addicts in New Mexico, and it is the drug that is most abused by youth under the age of 17. Binge drinking patterns among young adults has risen as well. While there has been a significant reduction of alcohol abuse on the Indian Reservations due to focused intervention programs, it has been on the rise in every other community in New Mexico. Alcohol is readily available, cheap to buy and socially acceptable within the state. Drinking to excess and binge drinking is also given cultural approval because of the number of festivals that feature drinking and the amount of students concentrated in higher education areas.>
What other drugs are of concern in New Mexico?
Next to alcohol, marijuana is the next largest drug to be abused. This is followed by cocaine, heroin and meth. Crack cocaine statistics are near to the statewide cocaine consumption rates and are often bundled together with them in reporting. Heroin is experiencing a sharp rise in popularity, mostly due to its cheapness and that it is now more readily available.
The rising problem of methamphetamine in New Mexico
The drug that is experiencing that fastest rise in use is methamphetamine. Meth is cheap to produce and can be made locally. This allows dealers and manufacturers to evade established drug trafficking interventions by being able to set up a lab and distribution site anywhere. While meth use in New Mexico is nowhere near the national average, it is fast approaching that ranking.
Who uses the most drugs in New Mexico?
The majority of drug use and abuse in New Mexico occurs within the age group of 17 to 30. The predominant population is male and from the middle to lower income class. They have some college education and are employed. Females are represented by being about 34% of all known users in New Mexico. Most striking about the state is that they have one of the highest rates of child use of illegal drugs. It is estimated that 64% of all children 13 and under use marijuana and alcohol with regularity.
New Mexico has a disproportionate rate of drug use and abuse, having some of the highest rates in the nation. They are leading the states in the amount of youth addiction and drug abuse. Despite this strong presence of drugs within the state, the amount of drug treatment centers and programs has changed little over the past 20 years. There have been more people seeking treatment for addiction, but the prevalent culture of the state is making it difficult to develop a culture of abstinence or recovery. The main concern of law enforcement officials is the rate at which methamphetamine and heroin use is beginning to rise. The projected impact on the percent of deaths attributed to their abuse is expected to high and costly.