How Bad Is Addiction In Arizona?

woman looking at Arizona mountain

Did you know that the United States stands seventh in the list of most affected countries by addiction? Different types of substance abuse and a rapid growth of prescription drugs have resulted in the country’s misery. Many parts of the country are badly affected while in some places, the situation seems to be normal. In Arizona, the constant abuse of opioids, meth, and alcohol has destroyed hundreds of lives in just the past few years. While measures are taken by the government and various treatment centers are frequently inaugurated in the state, the addiction rate doesn’t seem to be dropping any soon.

Why is this so? Call it stigma around addiction or the ease of getting the drugs, everything has piled up and resulted in a situation where the rate of drug overdoses in Arizona has exceeded the national average. Many illegal substances are smuggled into southern Arizona from the Mexico border which continues to be a challenging task for law enforcement agencies.

Also, the presence of numerous drug dealers operating throughout the state has made availability no problem for locals. Since teenagers show a growing interest in illicit substances, it has also resulted in the rise of the drug market. This has also contributed to the rise of addiction disorder.

Addiction Disorder and Arizona

The statistics are constantly changing and they are changing for the worse. Arizona saw almost a 16 percent spike in benzodiazepine and prescription opioid-related deaths from 2013 to 2014. And if that seems small, it is during the same period that the heroin-related deaths increased by a whopping 44 percent.

Let’s take a step-by-step approach to which substances have caused how much chaos in Arizona.

Prescription Drug Abuse in Arizona

Prescription drugs are taken lightly by people as they blatantly ignore the dangers associated with it. Once addicted, these drugs are capable of causing huge damages to the body both physically as well as on psychological levels. Being dependent on this drug also increases an individual’s chance of getting addicted to heroin. As the regulations on the use of prescription drugs strengthen, the demand for these drugs is skyrocketing every year. Those who are addicted to either opioids or heroin are ready to pay whatever it is to get access to the drug.

The government needed time to study this and finally, it was in 2017 that the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, announced a statewide public health emergency due to the alarming increase in pharmaceutical opioid-related deaths. According to a survey released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Arizona is inches away from acquiring the top spot for most prescription drug abuse cases.

Here are some stats on how opioid abuse has worsened the situation of the state:

  • In 2012, the death rate for opioid abuse was around 450. The number increased to 790 in the year 2016 – a massive 74 percent jump in just four years.
  • Heroin-related casualties increased by 54 percent of Arizona’s opioid deaths in 2 years and by 64 percent in 4 years.
  • From 2008 to 2013, Arizona’s emergency rooms saw a haunting 100 percent rise in opioid overdose cases.
  • During that same period, the arrests made for driving under the influence of opioids increased by 99 percent.
  • If the data is to be believed, we may see thousands of opioid-related deaths per year in the coming years.

Benzodiazepine, opiates, stimulants, painkillers, etc., are among the most abused prescription drugs. Officials cite different reasons that have contributed to this rapid increase in drug abuse. Doctors over prescribing the medicine, less knowledge on the risk of a prescription drug overdose, and patients selling or using medicines not meant for them.

Alcohol Addiction in Arizona

One major problem with this type of addiction is that the person doesn’t even realize when they have developed addictive traits for alcohol. What starts as one fine drinking-evening with friends soon turns into an addiction. The Arizona Department of Health Services defines binge drinking as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a single sitting. The state has a lot of it!

Here are some stats on how bad alcohol addiction is in Arizona:

  • Although the whole state is suffering from binge drinking problems, non-Hispanic white males in the age group 35 to 65 are more likely to experience this.
  • Almost 2.5 percent of all emergency room visits in 2013 were due to alcohol addiction.
  • 13 percent of Arizona residents reported binge drinking traits. There are other drinkers as well who rely heavily on alcohol.
  • Alcohol addiction causes around 5 percent of all hospitalizations in the state.

Alcohol consumption is not only related to having parties. Sometimes the drinking traits are correlated as the coping mechanisms for things like depression, psychiatric issues, or marital stress. Frequent and excessive alcohol consumption can cause several long-term and short-term physical as well as psychological issues.

Street Drug Abuse in Arizona

Street drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana are very dangerous substances and can even cause severe damage to our brain. These drugs are highly addictive and only one dose can create a dependence on the drug.

Here are some stats on street drug use:

  • Methamphetamine is imported into Arizona through the borders. The supply has increased by 98 percent from 2015 to 2016.
  • Arizona Department of Health Services reported 14,607 deaths which were an increase from previous years.
  • In Arizona, cocaine is most commonly abused by young adults aged 18 to 25. It ranks in the top 10 states in this regard.
  • Marijuana is legal in Arizona for medical use only. However, many people enter treatment programs because of their dependence on marijuana.

Street drugs have varying effects on the users but critically, it targets the brain and our thought process. Drugs such as methamphetamine and marijuana alter our thinking and make us more prone to serious injuries or accidents. Excessive and frequent use of methamphetamine can damage teeth and even cause respiratory problems.


Trying out a new drug because your friend said so, or drinking alcohol just because everyone around you is too, is the way addiction slowly creeps into our life. Before we know it, we are dealing with a health condition that can last a lifetime (relapsing is common in addiction). Even if you are stuck in addiction, seeking immediate medical help is the only way out. Look for quality addiction treatment centers in Arizona or consult a medical professional. Keep the will to live a healthy and sober life as your motivation and you’ll see things becoming less difficult.