Spokane, Washington – known for its scenic forest views and Romanesque architecture – is also known as a mecca for drug users on the hunt for a cheap fix. Methamphetamines and other street drugs like marijuana and cocaine are prevalent in Lilac City, and reports indicate that drug use is on the rise in Spokane. Since legalizing marijuana in 2012, Washington State has become known for liberal drug policies and relaxed law enforcement. As a result, areas like Spokane are seeing an increase in addiction and the problems that come with this devastating affliction.
When a city like Spokane becomes overwhelmed with individuals who are physically or psychologically addicted to mind and mood altering drugs, there are devastating consequences.
Here are 12 Spokane Addiction Facts that Might Surprise You:
Addiction kills…..and that’s not surprising. But, you might be surprised to know that more than 13% of all annual deaths in Washington State are attributed to alcohol or drug-related causes. As Washington State’s second largest city, a large percentage of these happen in Spokane.
Washington State has collected nearly $83 million in marijuana tax revenues since legalizing the drug in 2012. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, “these revenues are funding substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, youth and adult drug education, community health care services, and academic research and evaluation on the effects of marijuana legalization in the state.” Surprisingly, this means people in Washington State who are smoking pot are being taxed to fund people who want to quit smoking pot.
Addiction in Spokane is so pervasive, law enforcement named Spokane County a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Comprised of Spokane and 14 other counties, The Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (NW HIDTA) is on high alert for drug trafficking in these areas, which are known for the movement of dangerous and illicit substances.
Since legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the Evergreen State, Washingtonians have seen an upsurge in marijuana use. It’s not surprising, then, that the availability of marijuana in Spokane has led to a dramatic increase in marijuana addiction. What is surprising? Approximately 25 percent of all admissions to treatment centers in Washington State are for marijuana.
Mollys are on the move in Washington State. The MDMA drug “Molly,” for which Spokane has become a highly sought locale because of its availability, continues to make headlines. Since 2010, when Spokane police officers made their first arrest for possession of Molly, arrests for these illegal and highly intoxicating pills have doubled every year since.
Spokane is a hotbed for heroin. In 2015, the city reported a spike in heroin overdoses and heroin-related deaths. Heroin abuse remains on the rise in Washington State.
If you use drugs in Washington State, you support gangs. Fact: gang activity is a very real element of addiction in Spokane. Most people do not associate drugs in Spokane with gangs, cartels, and the seedy characters you see in gangster movies – but, make no mistake about it, there are violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs behind the drug scene in Spokane.
Spokane sells bad coke. Although the good people of Spokane love to do their cocaine, buyers should beware. The Spokane Regional Health District has issued a warning that the cocaine circulating the Spokane area has been cut with a substance called “levamisole.” Levamisole is a chemical used to tranquilize animals and it is highly toxic to humans.
Drug addiction and disease go hand in hand in Spokane. Intravenous drug use poses a real health problem to the city where meth, heroin, and cocaine users often shoot their drugs using dirty needles. This increases the likelihood of accidental overdose and leads to the spread of disease. To address this epidemic, the Spokane Regional Health District has created a needle exchange program so that users can exchange dirty needles for those that have been sterilized.
More than 14 percent the people in Washington State have a problem with substance abuse. This means tens and tens of thousands of people in Spokane have an addiction problem. (Which means, if you have a problem with addiction, you are not alone!) This number, which is higher than the national average, is surprising.
Because Spokane addiction has run so rampant, the community has come together in surprising ways to take back the city. There are hundreds of treatment centers in the area that offer detox, inpatient, and outpatient services for those who are struggling with a drug problem.