North Kingstown, Rhode Island, is a town with a population of close to 26,000 people. Most residents are middle aged, around 40 years or older, and residents tend to make more money compared to the rest of the small, densely populated state. Nearly half the population of North Kingstown has a bachelor’s degree, and about 88 percent graduate from high school.
Like the rest of the state, however, the mostly suburban area of North Kingstown struggles with drug and alcohol abuse. Residents of the town need access to behavioral healthcare and substance abuse treatment.
Substance Abuse and Addiction in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Across all age groups, Rhode Island has a greater problem with illicit substance abuse compared to the rest of the US. Although there have been some decreases from 2007 to 2014, the densely populated small state still experiences serious problems with drug and alcohol abuse.
Most of the residents struggling with substance abuse in Rhode Island are between the ages of 18 and 25, which is also consistently true for the rest of the US; however, people over the age of 26 years old, who are more likely to live in North Kingstown, are significantly more likely than their peers in other areas of the country to abuse alcohol or drugs. In fact, 3.31 percent of people ages 18 and older who live in Rhode Island meet the DSM-IV definition for addiction compared to 2.55 percent nationally, according to NSDUH data.
Residents of Rhode Island, including North Kingstown, binge drink at rates comparable to other New England states, like Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire. A little over 17 percent of men and women across the small state drank more than four drinks at one occasion in the previous month, according to data from 2012. This is a little higher than the US average, which is about 16 percent. While most adults binge drink occasionally, engaging in this dangerous form of alcohol consumption more often increases the risk of serious alcohol poisoning, and also increases the risk of chronic health issues and alcohol use disorder.
Just over 61 percent of the population of Rhode Islanders over the age of 25 consume alcohol regularly, whether it is in moderation or part of a larger problem of alcohol abuse. Over 8 percent of residents who are older than 18 in the state meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder outlined in the DSM-IV.
In 2006, the state of Rhode Island tied with two other states for fifth place on a list of states with the highest rates of prescription drug abuse. This not only involves opioids, but also benzodiazepines, prescription stimulants like Adderall, and other substances. The report found that 7.7 percent of people ages 12 and older across Rhode Island abused prescription drugs of some kind in the first five years of the 21st century.
For North Kingstown, specific data is not available, but prescription drug addiction and abuse are likely to be high. With more older adults in the area, mixing prescription drugs and alcohol is more likely, which can lead to an accidental overdose. Also, individuals may steal medications like opioid painkillers from their older relatives who have a legitimate prescription and need for their care. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also found, in 2007 and 2008, that Rhode Island ranked seventh highest among states with high rates of prescription painkiller abuse, specifically.
Medical marijuana consumption is legal in Rhode Island, but recreational marijuana use is not. While it is not legal for nonmedical use, Rhode Island residents often abuse marijuana to get high, not to treat medical conditions. According to the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH), the state ranks third out of all US states for high school students’ past-month marijuana abuse. In the small state, including in North Kingstown, 23.6 percent of high school students abuse marijuana compared to 21.7 percent nationally.
However, teens in Rhode Island are less likely to abuse marijuana before the age of 13 compared to national averages (6.7 percent to 7.5 percent, respectively). Adolescents in the state are less likely than their other peers in the US to abuse synthetic marijuana (8.8 percent compared to 9.2 percent). Still, nearly one in 10 Rhode Island middle schoolers has tried marijuana, and the likelihood that a Rhode Island middle school student will try marijuana at least once increases seven times between 6th and 8th grades.
Although Rhode Island’s adolescents are at a greater risk for abusing marijuana, people over the age of 26 in the state also abuse the drug at higher rates than the rest of the country. NSDUH information from 2013 and 2014 found that 9.92 percent of people over the age of 25 in Rhode Island abuse marijuana compared to 6.11 percent of the US. Even with its population skewed more toward middle age, North Kingstown residents are still more likely than the rest of the country to abuse marijuana or struggle with addiction to the drug.
A report from 2014 found that more and more children across the state of Rhode Island were being removed from their homes by Child Protection Services because of their parents’ struggles with addiction. Between July and November 2013, the article noted that about 280 children were removed from homes facing substance abuse problems, which was an average of two children per day; worse, that was a 60 percent increase compared to the same five-month span in 2012.
Data from 2008 to 2010 found that Rhode Island suffered more drug overdose deaths – either accidental, due to abuse, or on purpose – compared to other states in the New England area. The state’s rate is about 16 out of every 100,000 people. These rates of overdose indicate a potentially very severe problem in the area, including in North Kingstown, which is the reason children are being removed from their parents’ custody.
Getting Treatment in North Kingstown
With a greater rate of addiction and substance abuse compared to the rest of the US, it is vital for people in Rhode Island, including residents of North Kingstown, to have access to evidence-based detox and rehabilitation facilities. According to NSDUH data gathered for 2013 and 2014, 2.79 percent of Rhode Island residents ages 18 and older struggle with addiction but are not receiving care for their condition.
One of the best places to start looking for help is through the Treatment Finder on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) website. This locator narrows results according to city, state, zip code, and type of treatment, like detox or buprenorphine therapy, to connect people with the help they need. Those in crisis, or their friends and family, can call SAMHSA’s hotline, too, for treatment referrals.
Psychology Today also keeps an extensive database of treatment options based on location. North Kingstown, being a relatively small place, does not have as many options as larger cities like Chicago or St. Louis, but there are places offering help to those in need. Also, Vitals keeps a similar database of people and programs that can help with detox and rehabilitation, based on city and state, including options in North Kingstown.
The Department of Health (DOH) has a Behavioral Health division, which maintains an extensive list of detox and rehabilitation facilities across the state, some of which are located in and around North Kingstown.
Although it does not specifically offer treatment, Rally 4 Recovery helps to raise money for nonprofit organizations to offer high-quality, evidence-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment in the state.