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Substance Use

All substance use comes with risk. It can lead to dependence and addiction, injury and accidents, health and/or sleep problems, and more. As a serious public health issue, substance misuse can include overindulgence of alcohol, misuse of prescription drugs, and the use of illegal drugs. And just because some drugs are legal, it doesn’t mean they are less dangerous. Substance abuse not only affects you, but those close to you as well.


The pressures of life are real. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the stress. To cope, some people turn to alcohol and drugs, but over time the habitual use of drugs only adds to the stress. The key to knowing if you have a problem is to identify harmful substance use patterns. These can be classified as using substances repeatedly for mood-altering purposes, in a way it is not intended or recommended, or using more than prescribed or is healthy.


Drug Overdose Data

2022 Drug Overdose Data
In 2022, NCHD conducted a Drug Overdose Assessment of its six-county public health district. From that, NCHD determined substance misuse is one of the major health risk factors for our communities in our six-county health district. We are currently working to provide added resource information and support to be available for residents of our region. Learn more about drug overdose in northeast Colorado.
Overall Data Analysis Summary
Drug overdose data for Health Statistics Region 1, (HSR-1) encompassing northeast Colorado, reflects that the most common form of drug overdose between 2000-2020 was unintentional or accidental. The counties with the highest rates of accidental drug overdoses were Sedgwick and Logan County, respectively. Sedgwick County’s average annual crude death rate of accidental drug overdoses between 2000-2020 was 9.7. Logan County’s average annual crude death rate of accidental drug overdoses between 2000-2020 was 9.5.
Based on the regional comparisons of drug overdose deaths by health districts within Colorado, it is notable that many districts have higher counts of drug overdose deaths due to heroin. However, in HSR-1 drug overdose deaths due to prescription opioids are more prevalent, based on recorded data from 2000-2020. The categorization “prescription opioid” that delineates these hospitalization and death rates includes the synthetic opioid fentanyl. This indicates that prescription opioids, including fentanyl, play a significant role in accidental drug overdoses resulting in hospitalizations and deaths
within HSR-1.

The drug overdose data for HSR-1 collected between 2000-2020 indicates that white non-Hispanic males and females ages 45-64 in Logan, Morgan, and Sedgwick County are the populations most at risk of an accidental opioid overdose that results in hospitalization or death.
Recommendations for Community Members
  • Ask your doctor about the potential harms of consuming alcohol with your medications as well as taking multiple medications together.
  • Dispose of old or unused medications at a designated Medication Drop Box . Go here to find all 
    drop box locations
  • Do not purchase drugs off the street as they could be contaminated with the lethal substance fentanyl .
  • If you are struggling with your mental health, seek out professional help. Those struggling with untreated mental illness have a greater propensity to experiment with illicit drugs and suffer from substance abuse disorders resulting in drug overdoses or death.
  • Visit this link to find substance abuse disorder resources in your community:
Opioid & Substance Use Assessment

Opioid & Substance Use Assessment

In 2020, NCHD partnered with OMNI Institute to conduct an opioid and substance use assessment of the six-county region served by NCHD. The primary purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of the landscape of opioid and substance use issues and opportunities for prevention in northeast Colorado.
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