Commonly Used Substances in North Dakota

The collective conscious of drug and alcohol addiction have a tendency to popularize different substances on a national scale or on a topographical regional scale rather than sticking to any type of legal state or county boundaries. This makes sense because the distribution of substances generally has more to do with topographical boundaries such as mountains or bodies of water. Even though this is true, it is still constructive to seek a deeper comprehension of the common intoxicants being used in North Dakota in the hopes of using that information so that treatment facilities and government institutions can cooperatively work together to better manage the devastating drug epidemic before us.


Alcohol Use in North Dakota


Most people consider alcohol and drugs to be two separate categories of substances, but when it comes to substance abuse and addiction, there is very little to distinguish it apart from the term ‘drug’. This may be why alcohol related crime, accidents, deaths and injuries aren’t seen as serious as something like the ‘opioid crisis’. 65% of North Dakota residents drink alcohol and 33.7% of the total arrests in the state were in relation to DUI and liquor law violations. Binge use accounts for almost half of all use at least once a month.

While binge drinking on it’s own isn’t a problem or sure fire sign of alcoholism,  nearly 44% of fatal car accidents in the state involve alcohol, making it’s use a serious threat to public health on that front alone. Alcohol use disorder often times accompanies depression, anxiety and stress, as for some, it’s an easy self medication to fix something that can’t be fixed with a few drinks. When combined with some genetic dispositions playing a role in the risk of a person who drinks to become addicted, it makes up the majority of untreated addictions, is responsible for many avoidable deaths a year and it largely is glossed over.

The fact of the matter is that cultural attitudes tend to let alcohol use disorder sneak by under the radar. It’s the one substance treated in clinics that has television commercials and has gatherings for drinking it publicly, serves it at many restaurants, and possession doesn’t land you in prison for having any.



Cocaine in North Dakota


Cocaine use in North Dakota has seen a steady rise in use and while opioid-related incidents are 77% higher than cocaine related incidents, it still remains a firm second in dangerous illegal drug use. It can be used in a variety of ways include snorting, injecting and, in the case of the crack variety, smoked. People who use cocaine tend to feel extra energy and confidence while their body experiences a decay of cardiovascular efficiency over the long term. Cocaine addiction, like most other drug addictions, gives the impression to the user that their consumption is moderated and restrained.

Long term use can lead to financial mismanagement, estranged families and distant friends due to the mix of aggression and depression that comes from the change in brain chemistry over time. Cocaine artificially triggers the release of pleasure neurotransmitters which can overwork the receptors that translate the transmissions into emotions and feelings. In other words, the ability to sense pleasurable events and happiness becomes shut off, contributing greatly to the addictive nature of cocaine as the goal of pleasure becomes more dependent on the drug and it’s ability to stimulate the dopamine release.


Opioids in North Dakota


North Dakota’s opioid overdose death rate is less than half the national per-capita average. Still, within one year between 2016 and 2017, the number of deaths jumped from about 5 to 14, causing state concerns to rise over whether this is the sign of things to come or simply an anomaly. Newspapers even reported the change in headlines with an oversold number of the “1000% increase in opioid related deaths”. The state also averages about 10 prescriptions lower on the national average of opioid prescriptions made during 2017 at 60 per capita. . While this is moderately good news, the fact is that prescriptions indicate that there is an active addicted portion of those receiving prescriptions and that there is a pathway that could end up at heroin and fentanyl if use continues lengthy enough.

Nevertheless, there is enough evidence to remind people be prescribed pain killers by doctors to remain diligent on recognizing signs early on of opioid addiction. Further, if are prescribed opioids by a doctor to keep tabs on the pill count as the increase in recreational use among kids 14-18 is largely supplied by theft of someone’s prescription they know or are friends with.





Nationwide, the use of meth use continues be on the uprise along with the use of all other controlled substances. This includes percentages in North Dakota’s those who use of meth is over 40% of all drug users as of 2015. This means nearly 1 of every 2 drug users takes methamphetamine in some capacity. The problem of meth use is socially more widely known than most other states because of the fact that meth use is twice as high as opioid and heroin use combined. A recent nationwide study revealed that the majority of of the new users of meth are women. A large portion of them became addicted while in high school with regular amphetamines before moving onto the more portent crystal meth.

Due to meth’s effects which induce high levels of aggression, paranoia and confusion in high doses, crimes committed involving meth use numbered over 1,600, which an orders of magnitude larger compared to the crimes involving heroin and cocaine, which only combine to total 277 together. When combined with the percentages of preference and use, the numbers make sense and beginning to overshadow any suggestions of opioids being the severe public health problem when compared to the effects and costs of meth when it comes to North Dakota’s drug use. 


Getting Help for Substance Abuse

If you or a loved one has a substance abuse issue and you would like help getting control back of your life from addiction, contact us as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder the addiction will be to overcome.