Although many American states have problems linked to substance abuse and addiction, North Dakota is often ranked among the top states for the abuse of alcohol in the country. CBS News, for instance, reported that 30 percent of the residents of this state had engaged in binge drinking within the 30 days during which a study was conducted.
To better understand this statistic, it is essential to note that close to 1 out of every 3 residents in the state drank alcohol excessively at least one time in the month prior to the study.
The state government conducted a study in 2015 that reported that there was a decline in the abuse and misuse of prescription medications in North Dakota. According to the study, close to 6.5 percent of the state's population had abused these drugs in 2011. This number shot down to 4.9 percent by the end of the study period in 2015.
Although the number of people who misuse these medications has been on the decline, the past 5 years have seen the rate of drug overdose fatalities in the state more than doubling. This is most probably as a result of the increase in the potency of the prescription drugs that are dispensed across the United States.
Another study reported that around 6 percent of the residents of the state engaged in the use of illicit drugs in the past month. This was at a time when the total average at the national stage was at 8 percent.
That said, the state has witnessed a decrease in the total number of people who are admitted into addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers who mention alcohol as their main substance of abuse. However, there has been an increase in those mentioning both methamphetamine and marijuana.
On the other hand, the N-SSATS - the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services - has reported that the total number of alcohol and drug addiction recovery facilities in North Dakota went up to 65 centers in 2006 from 47 facilities in 2002.
The most common substance of abuse in North Dakota is alcohol. The state has been responding to this crisis with a number of stringent measures - including but not limited to regulation and laws.
For instance, there is a zero tolerance law for drunk driving that is targeted at limiting the number of people below 21 years who are allowed to consume alcohol. Those falling within this age group who are apprehended driving while drunk - with any content of alcohol in their BAC test - are now subjected to potential jail time and fines.
The state also has school education and mass media campaign programs in place that are designed to inform its citizens of the various risks associated with drunk driving incidents. Known offenders get their cars installed with ignition interlocks to ensure that they cannot start their cars when their BAC is above a given percentage.
For residents struggling with a substance use disorder involving alcohol or any other common drug of abuse, the state of North Dakota has many addiction treatment centers and programs designed to help them achieve recovery.