North Dakota

North Dakota gets overlooked on a regular basis. It can’t lay claim to any major national parks, superstar sports teams or even a giant, carved mountain like its neighbor to the south. What North Dakota does have, however, is a huge amount of agricultural production and some of the largest reserves of natural gas and other fuel resources in the entire country. Due to these gigantic reserves, North Dakota’s population has been booming in recent years, and the state has a very low unemployment rate.

It may be due to this very high level of employment that North Dakota has some of the lowest drug rate statistics in the whole country. Having a worthwhile, well-paying job can go a long way to keeping a person away from drugs (and the mental states that can predicate drug use, too.) 

North Dakota Drug Facts & Statistics

Here is the general breakdown of the drug scene in the state of North Dakota:

  • North Dakota has one of the lowest rates of residents dying from drug use. In 2009, for example, only 28 people died from drug use. This is a rate of 4.3 people per 100,000 population. The national average, on the other hand, is 12.8 people per 100,000.
  • 5.3 percent of North Dakota residents admit to using illegal drugs in the past month, while the national average is lower at only 8.82 percent of Americans in general. Again, this goes to show that North Dakota has very low rate of drug use, comparatively.

Addiction & North Dakota Drug Treatment

North Dakota is a large state based on area but is the 48th smallest state by population, with only Vermont, and Wyoming having smaller populations.  Regardless of the small number of people living there North Dakota still has drug problems just like other states.  Fortunately for North Dakota’s residents the state ranks in the lower third for illicit drug use when compared to the rest of the nation.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducts annual surveys that obtain information on illicit drug use in nine different categories. Out of all of these categories North Dakota only ranks slightly above the lowest range in three specific instances, which are:

  • Nonmedical use of pain relievers in past year among persons aged 12 to 17 years old
  • First use of marijuana among persons aged 12 or older
  • Cocaine use in the past month among persons aged 12 to 17 years old

It should be noted that the gap between the highest and lowest states is relatively small, but overall North Dakotans consume less drugs per capita than most other states. The most abused drugs in the state are:

  • North Dakota has shown some recent volatility in the amounts and types of drugs that its residents are using.
  • Heroin is hardly used at all in the states. Admissions for drug rehabilitation have been near zero for almost twenty years.
  • Marijuana is by far the most popular drug in the state. It has moved up and down over the years, but it is currently responsible for about 65 percent of all drug treatment admissions.
  • Cocaine and crack are declining in usage and in treatment admissions all over the country, but in North Dakota they were almost never used. Rates have always been lower than 10 percent and are now at almost nothing.
  • Meth is the second most popular drug in North Dakota. After almost seeming to surpass marijuana around 2005, it has now dropped down to being responsible for only about 19 percent of all drug treatment admissions.

In contrast the White House’s director of drug control policy says that the area called North Dakota’s Oil Patch ranks high in drug use.  In November of 2013 the area will be designated as part of the US government’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.  This designation will bring federal resources into the area for the purpose of combating drug trafficking and abuse in the area.  Local law enforcement officers say the increase in drug trafficking in western North Dakota is directly related to the population growth there, which consists mostly of out of state workers who find employment in the oil industry.

North Dakota Drug Treatment & Information Resources

WhiteHouse.gov: North Dakota Drug Control Update – http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/state_profile_-_north_dakota_0.pdf

Inforum: Feds to designate ND Oil Patch County as High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area –http://www.inforum.com/content/feds-designate-williams-county-high-intensity-drug-trafficking-area-1