Asheville-Buncombe Drug Commission completes its first annual report

Founded in 2005, the Asheville-Buncombe Drug Commission completed its first annual report. The report, which attempts to give a current look at substance abuse in Buncombe County and a plan to address it, was released yesterday, Oct. 15. The report can be found online in full here.

Here are a few of the highlights from the Asheville-Buncome Drug Commission’s annual report:

• Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Buncombe County ranked 20th in regard to the number of people who sought aid at the emergency department for substance abuse-related issues. The state average for emergency department presentations for substance use related issues per 100,000 people was 1248.84 in 2007. Buncombe County’s number per 100,000 people was 1622.48.

• From Jan. 2010 to Dec. 2011, the Neil Dobbins Detoxification Center had 432 admissions, with a total annual cost of treatment exceeding $682,000.

• In Asheville City Schools, the number of arrests for possession of a controlled substance tripled from the 2007-2008 school year to the 2010-2011 school year. The local report also notes that during this same time period, the arrest rate at Buncombe County Schools fluctuated less, but efforts to reduce rates further have proved a challenge.

• In 2010, Buncombe County recorded 1,014 arrests for driving under the influence, which rounds out to an average of about 20 arrests each day.

• From 2007 to 2010, the number of reported arrests in Buncombe County involving cocaine increased by 50 percent.

• According to Dr. Paul Martin, the Medical Director at Asheville’s Neil Dobbins Detoxification Center, the number of people seeking treatment for prescription drug addiction at Neil Dobbins has jumped disproportionately during the past five years. He notes that most users obtain the drugs from friends and family, rather than through criminal activity.

• According to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs the United States $484 billion annually


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