Wyoming Stimulant Use Below National Average, But Arrests, Deaths On The Rise

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The use of stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine among Wyoming’s residents is below or the same as the national average, according to a University of Wyoming study.

However, the consequences of stimulant use appear to be on the rise in the state, according to the study by the university’s Survey and Analysis Center, indicating that more data needs to be collected on the issue.

“A disconnect exists between these two trends and filling data gaps may help explain these differences,” concluded the study titled “Telling the Story of Stimulant Use in Wyoming.” “More information concerning risk factors related to stimulant use would offer a better understanding of the differences between consumption and consequences.”

The study was prepared at the request of the Wyoming State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup, which provides public health officials with information they can use to set policies.

The study said the SEOW’s membership in 2019 and 2020 became concerned that stimulant use, amphetamines and methamphetamine in particular, was increasing across the state.

The Survey and Analysis Center collected data from 2018 from various sources to quantify stimulant use and consequences such as arrests and overdoses.

The SAC found that according to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, 1.3% of Wyoming’s residents reported using cocaine at some point in the past year, compared to a national average of 2.1%.

For methamphetamine use, the national survey found that 0.6% of Wyoming’s population had used the drug on one or more occasions in the past year, the same percentage as was seen nationally.

Among high school students, the Wyoming Prevent Needs Assessment found that 0.5% of students reported using methamphetamine in the past 30 days, while 0.9% admitted to using cocaine.

Of the University of Wyoming students questioned as part of the National College Health Assessment, 0.9% said they used methamphetamine in the last 30 days, but 3.4% admitted to using some other kind of amphetamine and 4.8% said they had used a prescription stimulant.

“The NCHA at UW suggests that other types of stimulants may be used at higher rates than methamphetamine,” the study concluded.

However, consequences from the use of stimulants, such as arrests and overdoses, have been increasing, the study said.

Its review of arrest data from the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police showed the number of methamphetamine-related arrests in Wyoming increased from 823 in 2014 to 1,404 in 2018.

The number of stimulant-related fatal overdoses also increased during that period, the report said, growing from a rate of 0.68 per 100,000 residents between 2008 and 2012 to 3.04 per 100,000 from 2014 to 2018.

The number of people admitted to state-funded abuse disorder treatment centers for treatment of methamphetamine use also increased dramatically from 2013 to 2018, the study said, growing from 1,165 to 2,235.

However, the number of people seeking treatment for cocaine use fell from 325 to 266 during the same period, while those seeking treatment for the use of other amphetamines dropped from 475 to 77, the report said.

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