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In 2010, South Dakota was considered one on the nation’s top 10 states that had the highest rates of drug dependents and addicts who belong to the age group of 12 to 17 years of age.

An average of 6 South Dakotans for every 100 were reported to have used illicit drugs in the preceding month, about 3 percentage points better than the national average at 8.82 percent. Additionally, the mortality rate associated with drug overdose has been significantly lower compared to national averages. And it still does. In 2013, the drug overdose related mortality rate for South Dakota was 6.9 while in 2014 it increased a little bit to 7.8 which is still well below the national drug overdose mortality rate average.

While these figures has been a source of pride for its handful of drug treatment facilities, the government of South Dakota knows that it still has a lot of things to improve on. For example, marijuana continue to be the leading cause of addiction treatment admissions accounting for 6 out of 10 admission cases, more than three-quarters of which were males. Unfortunately, as was stated earlier, a great majority of these treatment admissions were those from the 12-17 year old age group. The second most common illicit drug that was cited as reason for treatment admission is methamphetamines and other stimulants. About 10 percent of total admissions to drug rehab centers were due to prescription opioid analgesics, more than 50 percent of which were females and majority belong to the 21 to 25 year old age bracket.

South Dakota’s drug addiction landscape is comparatively modest in relation to what is happening in the whole country. And this is something many of its addiction center treatment facilities know. This is also something that they are using to make sure that they increase the number of patient admissions while law enforcement agencies and the local government continue to think of new ways to entice drug dependents and drug addicts to rethink their current lifestyle.

Since one major concern, like anywhere else in the country, is the growing number of young South Dakotans consuming drugs, particularly the improper use of prescription medications, many drug rehabilitation advocates are pushing for a renewed emphasis on the education of the youth on the dangers of illicit substances such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine as well as designer drugs. Of greater importance is the wrong perception about prescription medications. It is generally believed that many pubertal children and teenagers are grossly misinformed when it comes to simple medications such as cough preparations, anti-anxiety drugs, and pain relievers or analgesics. Whet many young people do not recognize is that these medications do exert physiologic and mental effects other than what it was therapeutically intended to do. Additionally, when these medications are tampered with, often in the form of using it not in its intended form, the effects can be substantially heighted. Lastly, mixing medications or taking them in combination with other drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin can have potentially deadly consequences.

And this is what South Dakota’s drug rehabilitation officials clearly would like to change. 

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