Utah is known for its tight-knit, religious community. Approximately 63 percent of residents are Mormon, and the world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located in Salt Lake City. Although Utah is one of the least densely populated states, it was one of the fastest growing states in 2008. A 2012 Gallup poll found Utah to be the best state to live in based on various factors, including economy and health. Still, this beautiful state is not exempt from the drug culture.

Utah is a neighboring state to Arizona, so it’s not uncommon for The River Source to work with patients from here. With the homogenous nature of the state, drug addiction is not well accepted, and families seek immediate help and support for their loved one. Although rates of drug abuse are relatively low in this state, there have been a growing number of teens and young adults abusing prescription drugs in recent years.

Why Addiction is Prevalent in Utah

Since the state is not densely populated, there are many remote, desert areas that make it easy to do drugs and binge drink. Over the years, illegal substances have been easier for teens and young adults to get their hands on, and one of the greatest risks has been prescription drugs. Since these medications can be found in the medicine cabinets of parents and grandparents, Utah’s youth feels that these drugs are more acceptable and lower in risk compared to drugs like heroin or cocaine.

Also, there have been more people moving into the state because of its wholesome image, which brings about a more diverse population that has an impact on drug abuse statistics. With the sparse desert lands, it’s easy for drug dealers to move into these secluded areas and produce their own drugs, such as the synthetically made drug, crystal meth. In fact, methamphetamines are the most commonly cited drugs for drug treatment admissions in Utah.

How Does Utah Compare to Other States?

Compared to the rest of the nation, Utah’s rates for drug abuse are quite low. According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 percent of the population admitted to using an illegal substance in the past month, compared to 8 percent of the total population. Interestingly, the number of drug-induced deaths is higher than the national average, with 20.6 per 100,000 of the population having died from drugs in 2007. The national average was 12.7 per 100,000 people.

This high rate of drug-related deaths has brought a spotlight on binge drinking and illegal drug use, as more people die in Utah from prescription drug overdoses alone as they do from car accidents. There has been a greater need for educating Utah’s youth on the dangers of prescription medications, as many young people self-diagnose themselves and combine drugs with other medications.

A Close Look at the Numbers

Below is the percentage of the Utah population using and/or abusing drugs.

Illicit Drugs Age 18+
Past Month Illicit Drug Use 1 6.33%
Past Year Marijuana Use 6.94%
Past Month Marijuana Use 4.18%
Past Month Use of Illicit Drugs other Than Marijuana 1 3.32%
Past Year Cocaine Use 2.39%
Past Year Non-Medical Pain Reliever Use 5.04%
Alcohol Age 18+
Past Month Alcohol Use 33.71%
Past Month Binge Alcohol Use 2 16.88%
Past Year Dependence, Abuse & Treatment Age 18+
Illicit Drug Dependence 1 1.99%
Illicit Drug Dependence or Abuse 1 2.68%
Alcohol Dependence 3.61%
Alcohol Dependence or Abuse 6.86%
Alcohol or Illict Dependence or Abuse 1 8.39%
Needing but not Receiving Treatment for Illicit Drug Use 1, 3 2.46%
Needing but not Receiving Treatment for Alcohol Use 3 6.44%
1 – Illicit Drugs include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-like psychotherapeutics that are used non-medically. Illicit Drugs Other Than Marijuana include cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription-like psychotherapeutics that are used non-medically2 – Binge alcohol is defined as drinking five or more drinks in the same setting on at least one day in the past 30 days3 – Needing But Not Receiving Treatment refers to the respondents needing treatment for illicit drug or alcohol use but not seeking specific treatment at a facility

4 – Major Depressive Episode is defined as having a period of at least 2 weeks where a person experienced a depressed state of mind or loss of interest in daily activities. They also have the symptoms listed in the DSM-IV

Source: National Survey on Drug Use & Health, 2004 and 2005, SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies

Serious Psychological Distress 12.59%

Why Seek Treatment in Arizona

There are many benefits to seeking treatment for a drug addiction in Arizona. Utah borders our state, making it easy to drive or take a short flight to our facility. The River Source will arrange all transportation to our campus, including same-day accommodations. For family living in Utah, they can visit our facility at any time and participate in family counseling sessions that are held in person or over the phone. The similar weather and desert conditions will also offer a sense of peace and familiarity during treatment.