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CEWG Region Report: Drug Abuse in Detroit, Wayne County, and Michigan, June 2013

Wayne State University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Prof. Cynthia L. Arfken, Ph.D. is a member of NIDA's Community Epidemiology Work Group. In this interview she presents, 'Highlights and Summaries' from her June 2013 Report on 'Drug Abuse in Detroit, Wayne County, and Michigan.'



Cynthia Arfkin: I think it's important to report on alcohol and drug abuse in Michigan.

In 1999, we had a similar drug-induced death rate in Michigan, as the US.

We also had a similar alcohol-induced death rate as the US, but in 2010, we were much higher in drug-induced death rates, and we're one of the highest in the country.

But, yet we're still around the national average for alcohol-induced death rates, so something has gone on.

When we looked at the data by gender, no difference. When we looked at the data by age, no difference.

We looked by weather it's rural, or a small town, or a large town. All of them showed increases.

The only one that didn't was very large cities, like Detroit.

So I looked at it by race. And it was entirely due to an increase among whites and drug-induced death rates.

Heroin use has been increasing and it's continuing to increase.

The biggest problem, are young whites coming from out-state, not from Detroit, but from other places, and they are starting to use heroin, and they are starting to inject it.

So half the people in the state of Michigan who are in treatment, for heroin and are injecting are under 30.

And that's a problem because they are our future.

Two other trends were seen in Michigan is the decline in the use of cocaine, whether it's crack cocaine or powder cocaine.

The other one is that people are moving to new substances. We're not finding MDMA, which is traditional in Ecstasy.

We're finding other things in Ecstasy.

And maybe we're seeing substituted cathinones, also known as Bath Salts.

We might be seeing the synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2 or Spice.

When I talk to users, they say they're using it because it's around, because they can't get something else, because it's cheaper, and because people offer it.

The other thing is that people are using it to search for a legal high.

So that means when you make it illegal, they are going to start looking for other things, too.

So we have to address why people are using drugs.


This page was last updated November 2013